Tampa International Airport closed through Thursday

The last commercial flight to depart before Hurricane Ian’s arrival left Tuesday evening for Atlanta.
Passengers check flight departure and arrival times at Tampa International Airport on Tuesday.
Passengers check flight departure and arrival times at Tampa International Airport on Tuesday. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published Sept. 28, 2022|Updated Sept. 28, 2022

TAMPA — Tampa International Airport, which ceased commercial flights at 5 p.m. Tuesday due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Ian, will remain closed through Thursday, the airport announced Wednesday morning.

The last commercial flight to depart before the storm’s arrival was Delta flight 2790 heading to Atlanta, taking off shortly after 5 p.m. Some cargo and military aircraft may continue to arrive or depart on an emergency basis, according to airport staff.

“Right now our priority is to protect our employees and our facilities,” the airport’s CEO, Joe Lopano, said at a news conference Tuesday, addressing reporters from the now-shuttered main terminal. He added that after Hurricane Ian passes the focus will shift to a safe and speedy reopening to assist with recovery efforts.

Lopano said he would be spending the storm at the airport, just as he did for Hurricane Irma in 2017, along with a team of volunteer storm riders — approximately 120 employees with specialty expertise who have trained for such an event.

“Tampa International Airport is extremely close to Tampa Bay, and storm surge and flooding are obviously a top concern for us,” executive vice president of operations and customer service John Tiliacos said at the same news conference Tuesday morning.

The airport will reopen once it can safely assess damage, survey road conditions and bring in staff.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

• • •

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