TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa International Airport is experiencing low passenger numbers in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
“Operations have slowed significantly with less than 200 daily commercial flight arrivals and departures and 3,000 daily passengers,” airport spokeswoman Emily Nipps said in an email to 8 On Your Side.
Nipps explained that TPA would see around 550 arrivals and departures on a normal spring break day. And up to 80,000 people would travel to and from the airport during better times, she said.
Nipps added that the airport will have more specific March numbers next week, after the airlines report their data to TPA officials.
On Friday, the airport was relatively quiet. Some shops and restaurants were open with others closed.
The number of passengers and flight crews screened by the Transportation Security Administration fell below 100,000 Tuesday for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began, according to reports.
TSA officials said agents screened 97,130 travelers, down 95 percent from 2.1 million travelers on the same weekday a year ago and less than half the amount of just two weeks ago.
That is a record low, TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said on Twitter.
TPA officials are working diligently to keep the grounds clean and safe.
“The Airport began monitoring the spread of coronavirus weeks before it came to Florida, hosting daily updates on the virus and readying its Continuity Plan. When the virus came to Florida, TPA sprang into action. This meant immediately deploying hand sanitizing stations throughout the terminal, new COVID-19 signage throughout the facility and enhanced cleaning in high-touch areas. For employees, it meant following best practices and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and, more recently, making facemasks available to frontline workers in accordance with CDC recommendations,” the airport said in a press release.
8 On Your Side spoke to Fredrick Piccolo, President and CEO of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. He explained that March passenger numbers were down about 22 percent. Around 153,000 passengers used the airport for the month, he said.
After March 12, “things really fell off a cliff,” Piccolo said.
For the first nine days of April, SRQ boarded around 2,400 passengers and expected to board around 10,000 for the month, the CEO said. He explained that passenger numbers will be about 95 percent lower than normal for April.
WHAT TO KNOW:
- Florida is reporting 85,926 cases and 3,061 deaths
- Florida in Phase Two of reopening
- Cases have spiked in past week, Gov. DeSantis says due to increased testing
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