TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Many people are flying in and out of Tampa, and airport leaders want to stay ahead of the growth.

They’re allowing the public to weigh in on potential changes at Tampa International Airport.

TPA hosted its first 2022 Master Plan Update public meeting Monday.

Airport leaders are trying to predict the next 20 years, and then decide what they need. Plans include a new concourse, new technology, more touchless options, and potential for a new runway.

“This will inform us as to what we should be building, five, 10 years from now,” TPA CEO Joe Lopano said. “After Covid, now is the best time to hit the reset button, and we’re right in the middle of it.”

Mike Soby lives in Pelican Island, one of the closest neighborhoods to the airport. When it comes to TPA, he and his neighbors pay close attention, and he has concerns.

Right now, airport leaders are studying the need for a new runway closer to his neighborhood.

“The noise issues are primary in our mind, along with construction and safety as another issue,” Soby said. “They come right over us, but I’m also sensitive to the South Tampa neighborhoods because they have it all the time.”

Lopano says their last several master plans have mentioned another runway, but it’s never been built. They want the public to ask their questions and voice their concerns.

“We want to be good community partners, good stewards of the community’s assets, so we’re going to be transparent and open,” Lopano said.

Soby thinks Tampa should explore other options if it anticipates robust growth.

“Why are we not thinking more regionally and saying we can only grow so far here, but maybe there ought to be more carriers at St. Pete International and the, you start looking at Sarasota-Bradenton,” Soby said.

Primary goals of the 2022 MPU include: 

  • Creation of a new 20-year passenger forecast 
  • Reassessment of Airside D, including timing and functionality 
  • Identification of new or emerging trends/technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and touchless technologies for passenger processing 
  • Assessment of TPA’s existing airfield capacity and analysis of whether additional runways may be needed 
  • Assessment of the capacity needs and operational enhancements needed to support the growth and success of all business sectors operating at TPA

The next public meeting will be in the Fall.