Make us your home page
Instagram

St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport prepares for more general aviation aircraft during RNC

An employee of Signature Flight Support clears a private plane for takeoff Tuesday at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.

CHERIE DIEZ | Times

An employee of Signature Flight Support clears a private plane for takeoff Tuesday at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.

The Republican National Convention will include a 10-mile no-fly zone around the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport is about 11 miles away. That extra mile could mean extra money in the airport's coffers.

The no-fly zone will lead many of the general aviation pilots who might otherwise fly into Tampa International Airport to change their plans. St. Petersburg-Clearwater hopes to scoop up that business. It is getting ready to make room for the smaller corporate and noncommercial planes.

To pass through the restricted airspace, general aviation pilots will be required to go through a TSA screening process 24 hours in advance.

"Pilots aren't going to want to be bothered with that," said Thomas Jewsbury, the airport's deputy director. "We feel that during the RNC, they will prefer to operate out of here, where it's less restricted."

When the Super Bowl came to Tampa in 2009, a no-fly zone was set up around Raymond James Stadium for the day of the game. On that single day, more than 250 additional general aviation planes flew into the airport, Jewsbury said.

"We had to shut down our secondary runways just to accommodate them and create more parking," he said.

Because the RNC will last for four days, Jewsbury expects the airport to pick up even more business.

The Clearwater airport charges daily fees for general aviation aircraft that park on paved areas at the airport, such as ramps and runways. It costs $10 for single-engine crafts, $15 for twin-engine crafts and $25 for jet-engine crafts.

The airport also collects 6.5 cents per gallon of general aviation fuel sold on the property.

In February 2009 — the month of the Super Bowl — almost 100,000 more gallons of fuel were sold at the airport than in either February 2008 or February 2010.

Jewsbury said the airport is preparing a plan to accommodate the increased general aviation traffic during the convention. The airport is focused primarily on finding ways to best use the different runways and taxiways and determining parking for the extra aircraft.

He does not know yet how many additional aircraft will be coming to the airport, but said the airport has already started receiving inquiries about prices and space availability.

"There are certainly unknowns going into it," Jewsbury said.

And not to worry.

Even though the airport will be shifted into the no-fly zone on Aug. 26, the day of the RNC party at Tropicana Field, the airport is working with the TSA to make sure no flights — commercial or general aviation — are affected.

St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport prepares for more general aviation aircraft during RNC 05/09/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 8:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  2. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  3. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  4. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.
  5. Honda denies covering up dangers of Takata air bags

    Autos

    With just a third of the defective Takata air bag inflators replaced nationwide, the corporate blame game of who will take responsibility — and pay — for the issue has shifted into another gear.

    Honda is denying covering up dangers of Takata air bags. | [Scott McIntyre, New York Times]