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Pandemic Impacting Tampa International Airport Budget, Expansion Project

TAMPA, Fla. — Budget cuts are expected to be approved Thursday during a Hillsborough County Aviation Authority board meeting.

Coronavirus has decreased expected passenger traffic at Tampa International Airport by more than 40 percent and that trend is expected to continue into next year.

What You Need To Know

  • Tampa International Airport pandemic-related budget cuts expected to be approved Thursday 
  • Airport has seen 40 percent drop in passenger traffic due to coronavirus
  • Cuts forcing early retirements delays to parts of airport expansion plans
  • Tampa International Airport

The airport was expecting to see more than 23 million passengers this fiscal year, while the real number will only top 13 million.

Tampa International Airport spokesperson Emily Nipps said despite $81 million in CARES Act funding for the airport, it has not been enough to make-up for all the losses.

“Next year we are projecting between 15 and 16 million passengers,” Nipps said. “So that kind of loss in business is definitely going to affect us for a while,” Nipps said.  “So yes that cares act funding was helpful, but we definitely will need more help going forward.”

Airport officials said they are looking to shave $2.5 million from its personnel budget.  

Earlier this summer, the airport asked for voluntarily early retirements from its 657-person staff.  Buy-outs are being offered with packages dependent on the employees’ number of years of service.

The airport is also delaying Phase 3 of its expansion project for 3-4 years.  Phase 3 included the construction of a new $690-million domestic and international passenger terminal.

Phase 1 of the project has been completed, and Phase 2, which includes the expansion of curbside drop-off areas, is continuing on schedule.

Aside from direct losses due to coronavirus, the airport has also deferred $27 million in rent and fees from airport vendors like rental car companies, retailers and food services.  

Those businesses have also been impact by the passenger traffic slow down due to the pandemic.

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