TAMPA — The groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for Tampa International Airport's $943 million construction project marked the start of a massive transformation. It will change the way people will catch flights there, how they'll dine and entertain themselves, even how the airport will make money.
It reminded Hillsborough County Aviation Authority chairman Robert Watkins of another momentous day: April 15, 1971, when the main terminal opened....
CLEARWATER — St. Petersburg and Clearwater are calling on London.
Pinellas tourism agency Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is spending $245,000 this winter to launch its first marketing push aimed at attracting tourists from the United Kingdom. That's the beaches' No. 1 pool for international visitors, including Canada.
"The market is matured to the level where we can go direct to the consumer," VSPC interim CEO David Downing said. "We're taking our training wheels off."...
TAMPA — The Tampa Port Authority governing board voted Tuesday to give CEO Paul Anderson a Joe Lopano-like bonus to avoid a Joe Maddon-like departure.
Anderson will get a $250,000 bonus if he remains at Port Tampa Bay through 2019. That works out to $50,000 a year for five years. The bonus also comes with a four-year contract extension and a 4.5 percent raise, increasing his annual salary to $365,750....
TAMPA — Chris Minner had just started work at Tampa International Airport in 2011 when the new vice president of marketing said hello to an old friend — and top executive — at Lufthansa.
"It's great to see you again," the airline executive told Minner, "but we're not flying to Tampa."
Then came Thursday: officials from both sides of the bay gathered at the airport to fete TIA's latest international carrier, Lufthansa, which will start flights to Frankfurt in 2015....
TAMPA — The new nonstop Lufthansa flight from Tampa International Airport to Frankfurt launching in 2015 will do more than link the bay area to Germany.
It will connect Tampa Bay to the rest of the world.
"You can leave from this terminal and go to Cape Town, South Africa; Hyderabad, India; or Bombay, India (now known as Mumbai), from here and make just one stop in Frankfurt," airport CEO Joe Lopano said. "It puts us on the grid with the world."...
TAMPA — Bay area leaders will gather at Tampa International Airport today to announce a new nonstop flight to one of the airport's most coveted international destinations: Frankfurt, Germany.
Lufthansa German Airlines CEO Karl Garnadt said in October that Tampa is one of the carrier's top targets for a new series of low-cost, long-haul flights set to launch in fall 2015. Tampa was the only U.S. city the CEO listed ....
TAMPA — A new international flight and a new carrier are headed to Tampa International Airport.
The airport said it will make a big announcement at 10 a.m. Thursday about a new international flight. Mayor Bob Buckhorn, airport CEO Joe Lopano and other local tourism and business leaders will also be on hand for the announcement. But the airport would not disclose the new carrier or new overseas route on Wednesday....
CLEARWATER — Allegiant Air, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport's dominant carrier, announced Wednesday that it will offer five new nonstop routes next year, connecting the airport to Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Richmond, Va., Hagerstown, Md., and Omaha, Neb.
The new routes will start service in February and March, the company said.
"We are extremely pleased to announce this expansion and bring new convenient, low-cost vacation options to five new communities, as well as new destination options for those communities we currently serve," Jude Bricker, Allegiant's senior vice president for planning, said in a statement....
The founders of Gr8code all met in the startup world, guiding entrepreneurs and helping launch new businesses. It was in that world that they discovered a glaring unmet need: startups could not find enough skilled coders to build apps and websites.
"There was such a gap between being able to hire the skills they needed," said Gr8code CEO Virginia Barnett, "and what was actually available."...
CLEARWATER — Pinellas County set a record for tourist tax collections for the third consecutive fiscal year in 2014, breaking the $35 million barrier for the first time in history.
This latest record may be more than just another sign of industry strength. To the county's top tourism official, it may also be a sign of transformation.
"I firmly believe that we have reached a new era for tourism in St. Pete and Clearwater," said David Downing. "I think our brand has reached a traction level that we have never seen."...
When Joe Lopano talks about what the Tampa International Airport of the future will look like, he sounds more like a real estate developer than the airport's CEO.
Other times, he sounds like he's planning a romantic evening.
"You have a little something to eat, maybe a glass of wine," Lopano said Thursday. "You watch the sunset. Then you go to the airside and get on your plane....
TAMPA — There are big changes coming to Tampa International Airport, and that means big changes for people who use the airport.
Starting in December, the airport will turn into a massive construction zone that will affect how people will access the airsides from inside the main terminal and also how they'll be able to catch a cab or bus out of TIA.
"We're doing everything in our power to minimize any potential impacts," airport spokesman Danny Valentine said....
TAMPA — It was a very good fiscal year for Tampa International Airport's finances.
TIA reported a record $197.2 million in operating revenue in fiscal year 2014, which ended in September. That's an increase of 7 percent, or nearly $13 million more than last year, when the airport set the old record of $184.3 million in revenue.
The key, said airport CEO Joe Lopano, is that those passing through TIA are spending more money there....
TAMPA — Copa Airlines CEO Pedro Heilbron said that a successful winter holiday for his airline flying from Tampa International Airport could help decide whether Copa will fly daily from Tampa to Latin America year-round.
In December, Copa started service to Tampa four times a week, giving the bay area its first direct flight to Latin America. Copa's passengers can use the airline's hub at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City to catch connecting flights all over Central and South America....
TAMPA — The dean of the University of South Florida's medical school on Thursday implored a key group of trustees to bless the rise of a new downtown medical school.
It would reshape USF and Tampa, Dr. Charles Lockwood told them.
Then the dean called in his closer: Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
"This decision is the single most important that has occurred in the last 25 years," Buckhorn said. "This is bigger than baseball."...