As Tampa International Airport this month celebrates Canadian carrier Lynx Air’s new nonstop connection to Toronto, the hub is preparing for the busy holiday season and a surge of travelers in the upcoming year.
TPA officials expect to serve 25.2 million passengers by next year. The neighboring St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) will serve roughly two million domestic and international passengers by the end of 2023, and executives project that number will climb in the new year with the launch of additional flights.
Destination bound: The latest airline activity in Tampa Bay:
Another Canada connection: Canada-based Porter Airlines started to offer daily nonstop flights between Tampa and Toronto as of Nov. 1.
San Antonio, Texas: Spirit Airlines will offer nonstop flights between Tampa and San Antonio, Texas, starting Jan. 11. The flights will be available four times a week. Jesus Saenz, director of airports at the San Antonio Airport System, said the flights could be offered year-round depending on the demand.
Budget Airways’ four new stops: Budget airline Breeze Airways is launching four new connections from Tampa International Airport. The airline will offer nonstop flights to the following destinations: Burlington, Vermont, starting Jan. 31; Madison, Wisconsin, starting Feb. 7; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, starting May 10; and Plattsburg, New York, starting Feb. 2.
Swiss-based airline to increase frequency: Edelweiss Air will be doubling its nonstop service from Tampa to Zurich, Switzerland, next year. Beginning in late May, the airline will offer four flights every week, according to a social media post from TPA.
Airline extends nonstop service to Panama City: Copa Airlines is increasing its nonstop service from Tampa to Panama City, Panama, to six days a week. The service increase will be available starting Dec. 15.
Allegiant to add new connections from PIE: Allegiant Air, the dominant airline serving the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, plans to add hundreds of new aircraft and more nonstop connections. The low-cost carrier currently offers over 60 nonstop flights from PIE, including connections to Canada and future links to Mexico. In 2021, Allegiant announced a joint venture with Mexican airline VivaAerobus to connect domestic travelers to popular Mexican beaches; however, this year, U.S. regulators suspended the review of a joint venture. The airline’s executives said they are hopeful the partnership agreement will move forward. There would be potential connections to renowned vacation destinations such as Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos.
A forewarning for this holiday season:
The TPA team said this will be the busiest Thanksgiving travel week in its history with an estimated 80,000 passengers per day expected to pass through its gates from Nov. 16 to 26.
The two busiest days will likely be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday following Thanksgiving, according to the airport’s announcement. An estimated 84,000 to 87,000 passengers are expected to arrive at the airport on each of those two days.
Representatives at both airports are asking travelers to arrive at least two hours before their flight departure time.
The TPA team said parking garages may reach capacity and urge travelers to book parking in advance online.
Meanwhile, PIE’s staff expects all the parking lots to reach full capacity. Once the parking lots are closed, there’s no additional airport parking.
Active loading and unloading of luggage will only be allowed at the curbside.