Make us your home page
Instagram

Tampa International reports 20 percent jump in international passengers this year

TAMPA — Tampa International Airport is starting to put the "international" back in its name.

The airport saw a 20 percent jump in international passengers in the first seven months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to data the airport released Friday.

That means that 51,000 more passengers have used Tampa as an international hub so far in 2012 than did so last year. That brings this year's total of international passengers to 309,000.

In July alone, the airport saw a 30 percent jump in international travelers. That's an increase of 9,737 passengers compared to the same month last year.

Most of that new business is owed to the establishment of new flights to two international cities the airport wasn't serving: Zurich, Switzerland, and Havana.

These new routes come with an economic benefit.

"International travelers spend more and stay longer," said airport spokeswoman Janet Zink.

The Cuba flights are expected to generate an additional $650,000 in revenue for the airport this year. From January to April, airport officials estimate that the duty-free shop brought in an extra $332,000.

But other international flights are doing well, too. British Airways saw a 9 percent increase as of July, up to 90,457 passengers. Air Canada reported an 8 percent increase, now up to 100,475 passengers.

Increasing international travel is one of the airport's biggest goals under TIA's chief executive officer, Joe Lopano, who was hired 18 months ago to expand that key market. There are two nonstop flights to Zurich every week and five to Cuba, giving Tampa seven extra international flights a week.

The first big get was Edelweiss Air. Tampa lured the Zurich airline from Orlando International Airport, and it began serving the area in May. It was Tampa International's first new nonstop European service in 15 years.

"We're working on more," Lopano said. "This is something that generally takes years to get done. You're asking people to commit $150 (million), $200 million in assets to your market. That requires a long-term investment in a relationship with them. This is something that takes years.

"For us to get Edelweiss quickly was very heartening."

International travel is also an economic multiplier that can ripple across the Tampa Bay area. According to the airport's own research, one nonstop daily flight to a major European and South American city can generate $154 million and create 1,200 jobs in the Tampa Bay area.

But the improved international market has not significantly boosted the total number of passengers at Tampa International, which remained flat at 10,118,060 people as of July. That's an increase of just 37,754 passengers compared to the first seven months of 2011.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3404.

Tampa International reports 20 percent jump in international passengers this year 08/17/12 [Last modified: Friday, August 17, 2012 9:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Target Corp. reaches $18.5 million settlement with 47 states over data breach

    Retail

    Target Corp. has agreed to pay Florida $928,963 out of a newly-announced $18.5 million settlement over a huge data breach that occurred in late 2013.

    Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have reached an $18.5 million settlement with Target Corp. to resolve the states' probe into the discounter's massive pre-Christmas data breach in 2013. 
[Associated Press]
  2. Gov. Rick Scott's family history of alcohol abuse could decide 'liquor wall" bill

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott must decide Wednesday whether to let Walmart and other big-box stores sell liquor, and he says a factor in his decision is the history of alcohol abuse in his family.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott is considering a veto of a bill that would allow Walmart, Target and other big box retail stores to sell liquor. [Andres Leiva | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. As St. Petersburg's Jabil Circuit broadens its business, it shrinks its name to Jabil

    Corporate

    St. Petersburg's Fortune 500 company, Jabil Circuit, informally tossed aside the "Circuit" in its name some time ago. That's because circuit board manufacturing, the company's core business for decades, has been squeezed out by a broader business agenda ranging from consumer packaging to supply chain management.

    Jabil Circuit informally dropped "Circuit" from its marketing material and signage, like at its St. Petersburg headquarters, years ago. Now it's official.
[Times file photo]
  4. Kahwa Coffee to open second drive-thru store in St. Petersburg

    Retail

    Kahwa Coffee will open its 12th location and fourth with a drive-thru in a former "farm store" in St. Petersburg.

    Kahwa Coffee will open its 12th location and fourth with a drive-thru in a former "farm store" in St. Petersburg.
[Times file photo]

  5. John Morgan 'prepared to invest $100M' in medical marijuana

    State Roundup

    John Morgan spent nearly $7 million pushing two statewide ballot initiatives to expand medical marijuana throughout the state of Florida.

    Personal injury lawyer John Morgan says he's ready to invest $100 million in medical marijuana. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]