(April 30, 2015) - Halfway through the fiscal year, Tampa International Airport’s passenger numbers are significantly outpacing projections thanks to strong Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, a heavier spring break period and a general strengthening of the overall U.S. travel market.
The Airport saw a 6.4 percent year-over-year increase in passenger traffic in the first six months of Fiscal Year 2015, covering the October 2014 through March 2015 period, compared to the same period last year. The increase was driven by substantial increases in both Tampa’s domestic and international markets. January and February of 2015 were especially strong, posting 8.6 percent and 8.3 percent year-over-year growth, respectively.
The Airport’s spring break period, which runs from February 28 through April 12, saw an 8.5 percent increase in passenger volume amounting to nearly 217,000 more passenger compared to spring break of 2014.
April's final numbers are expected to be even stronger with a projected 10.9 percent growth over last April, amounting to nearly 178,000 more passengers passing through the terminals.
“We expected to see passenger growth this year based on the original projections from the airlines, but these numbers so far have far exceeded even our own expectations,” Damian Brooke, Tampa International Airport Vice President of Finance & IT. “This rapid growth reinforces TPA’s need for more space, more facilities and more improvements, which is what we’re accomplishing now with the construction of our main terminal expansion, rental car facility and automated people mover.”
The heavy passenger growth is in part due to a 15.8 percent increase in international travel thanks to more frequencies to Panama City on Copa Airlines during the holidays and more Cuba passengers after U.S. travel restrictions were loosened in January. Tampa’s nonstop services to Zurich, Canada and London also enjoyed substantial year over year growth, as did the Airport’s domestic markets which saw a 6.1 percent increase in passenger traffic for the first half of FY2015 compared to the same time last year.
During the 2014 calendar year, Tampa International Airport welcomed 17,552,707 passengers which represented a 3.7 percent rise over 2013. The Airport originally forecast to handle 18 million passengers in 2015, although with the strong growth in the first half of the year, the airport is now expected to end the year serving over 18.5 million passengers.