Airport Business

DEC 2017 - JAN 2018

The airport professional's source for airport industry news, articles, events, and careers.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 13 of 43

LANDSIDE OPERATIONS 14 airportbusiness December 2017/January 2018 By Joe Lopano SkyConnect Gets Off the Ground at Tampa Bay Airport Tampa International Airport's focus on growth takes a big step forward in 2018 as its new landside improvements come on line. At that time, the airport was hailed for its novel design, featuring a landside/airside concept that focused on passenger comfort enabled by the world's first automated people mover, a transpor- tation innovation foreshadowing the automated vehicle revolution now in the making. Fifty years later, our current capital program builds on those principles of passenger comfort and innovation. We remain true to the notion that no passenger should ever have to walk more than 700 steps to get from point A to point B. Kiosks for bag check and boarding passes will be available in the rental car center on opening day, a cus- tomer amenity rare in today's airports. To help bring in local aspects, the train design features native birds selected with the help of the Audubon Society and the airport community helped pick the SkyConnect name through Internet polling. When we cut the ribbon on the project next year, three years after we first turned dirt, we'll do so as a team that reached its goal by keeping laser focused on preparing the airport for future growth while also meeting the needs of our current passengers and always keeping in mind: We are an airport first, a construction zone second. We established the need for the project in 2012 when we put the finishing touches on an updat - ed Master Plan. Our existing terminal was built to accommodate 25 million annual passengers. Master Plan projections showed us hitting that milestone around 2025. Our team determined the best solution to meet that demand was a three- phase program that, when completed around 2026, will allow us to serve 34 million annual passengers. That's more than double the number we served in 2013 when the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board voted unanimously to move for- ward with the Master Plan. Phase 1 – a $971 million project – calls for us to expand our terminal by 55,000 square feet to accommodate passenger circulation as well as greeters and to move our rental car operations from its location across the street from baggage claim. The rental car companies have no room to grow in that space. Limited space for vehicle storage means customers have to wait while a rental car jockey drives their cars from a remote location to the customer service center. The customer then drives out along our curbsides and roadway, drives in on our roadway to return the car and then a rental car jockey drives it back to the maintenance and storage site. That means each vehicle makes four trips on our roadway, creating a huge conges- tion problem, considering we are the ninth largest rental car market in the country. By moving the rental car operations out, we remove 2.7 million car trips a day from our roads and curbs. In the new 2.6 million square foot facility, we will also have enough space to bring nearly every off-airport rent- al car company on-airport, doubling the number of offerings and price-points for our customers – and increasing revenues for the airport. With a location for the new rental car cen- ter set for about 1.4 miles away from the main terminal, we turned to the task of determining how best to transport travelers to the terminal. We explored busing, but headways and turning radiuses required for buses sized for adequate passenger movement eliminated that option. The SkyConnect emerged as the logical choice. It supports our legacy and our commitment to outstanding customer service. Working with our designers, we settled on a train that travels along a guideway that starts at a main terminal station situated 85 feet in the air, E arly in 2018, Tampa International Airport will celebrate the opening of its new rental car center, main termi- nal expansion and SkyConnect, the people mover that connects the two buildings. The project marks the larg- est expansion since the airport broke ground on the existing terminal 50 years ago. Danny Valentine

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Airport Business - DEC 2017 - JAN 2018