TAMPA, Fla. - Leisure travel is booming at Tampa International Airport as airlines announce new routes and increase the number of departures.
"I haven’t seen anything like this in the 8 years that I’ve been at the airport, this many announcements in such a short period of time," said Emily Nipps, a spokesperson for TPA.
The airport announced a brand new route last week; Alaska Airlines to Portland. American Airlines also announced new routes to Los Angeles, Nashville, and Raleigh-Durham, along with brand new Breeze Airways starting up flights to Norfolk, VA.
"We’re definitely seeing a big boom and it really says a lot about the Tampa Bay region and how desirable it is to visit here, we’re seeing people that are moving here after the pandemic and that’s really what we’re seeing right now with the airline routes," Nipps said.
The days of airports looking like ghost towns because of the pandemic are over.
"We are telling people to make sure that they get to the airport two hours early, that sounds very early for Tampa International Airport but right now we are seeing unusual peaks in the day where people are having a hard time getting through TSA checkpoints quickly and people are actually missing flights," Nipps said.
After being pushed back several times because of the pandemic, international routes are making their return. Flights from TPA to London and Zurich are supposed to begin in the first half of July. Then Lufthansa’s flight to Frankfurt is scheduled to return at the end of September. Airport managers say there is a big economic benefit to our region when the flights to and from Europe are in service.