Tampa airport hits pause on $906M of planned construction

Tampa International Airport has seen a lot of cuts this year due to COVID-19. First, it was passenger traffic. Now, it’s nearly one billion dollars in construction projects.

With air travel down more than 90%, TPA will delay or cancel $906 million worth of construction projects, CEO Joe Lopano told the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Thursday.

A big chunk of that includes the Airside D plan, totaled at $690 million. The project was slated to add 16 new gates.

“This is giving us an opportunity to pause right now until we get thru COVID, and then we can reanalyze our forecast, so that we can plan for when we want to bring D on,” said Al Illustrato, TPA’s executive vice president of facilities.

The other $200 million in paused projects will come from their overall capital improvement program.

Right now, Illustrado says it’s looking like a multi-year delay.

“We’re estimating four years, but we want to bring our master planner in to work with us on passenger operations forecast, so we can properly plan that for our future,” he said.

But one ray of light in what’s been a bleak forecast is a slight uptick in passengers over the last few weeks.

“I believe this week we saw one day where we had a total of about 13,000 passengers arriving or departing,” he said.

Which is a much smaller amount than they’re used to, but nonetheless, they say it’s encouraging.