TAMPA — United Airlines is looking to expand its operations at Tampa International Airport with a new $33 million maintenance hangar.
The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority on Thursday will consider leasing the airline 9.5 acres at the southwest corner of N West Shore and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards. The land, which is east of Tampa International's terminal and airfield, would become home to a two-bay maintenance hangar and tarmac for United's Boeing 737 jets.
Talks about United building a new maintenance facility at the airport have been underway since 2015. The airline flies 277 flights a week, serving six markets, into or out of Tampa International. In December, it carried 9.7 percent of passengers flying to or from Tampa, making it the airport's fifth largest airline, behind Southwest, Delta, American and Spirit airlines.
In June, United plans to double its daily service between Tampa and San Francisco to twice a day. The expanded service will allow business fliers to get to San Francisco for an afternoon meeting or dinner and return to Tampa on the new red-eye flight.
As proposed, United would build the hangar. It would lease the land from the airport. It would start to pay rent 24 months after the agreement is approved, whenever its new hangar is finished or as soon as it starts to use the property for its operations, whichever comes first. United would pay $297,950 during the first year of the 20-year agreement, with the rent rising annually in line with changes in the consumer price index. The airline would receive a rent credit of about $1.2 million for doing site preparation work that normally would be the responsibility of the airport.
The United hangar would be just west across West Shore Boulevard from a 70-acre area where the airport is looking to expand its growing cargo operations. In October, the aviation authority hired a Massachusetts firm, the Middlesex Corp., to design and build an expansion estimated to cost $72 million. The airport saw more than a 100 percent increase in the weight of cargo shipped from 2015 to the middle of last year, a rate of growth only second to Cincinnati.
Contact Richard Danielson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times