Serving the major city of Tampa in the state of Florida, USA, Tampa International Airport is a main travel hub of the east coast, handling more than 16 million passengers a year and serving 85 direct flights to cities all over the world. Located less than 10 kilometres from the city centre, it is the main airport serving Tampa and is often praised for its successful transport operation, named one of the top 10 best airports by CNNGo, and innovative architecture. Various major airlines serve the airport including Air Canada, British Airways and Delta Air Lines, all providing passengers with domestic flights and global connections to world cities such as London, Frankfurt and Zurich.
The terminal building of Tampa International Airport is constructed in a unique landside and airside design, separated into four different sections containing all 90 gates, with each offering its own facilities and services. Waiting visitors can find food courts serving a range of international cuisine and hosting local Tampa restaurants, and gift shops for buying Florida souvenirs, books or travel items, in addition to internet facilities, information kiosks and charging stations. Inside the terminal, there are comfortable waiting areas for passengers and the airport has a public art program, displaying the work of local artists revealing the history of Tampa and its community. The USO welcome centre is an exclusive service for regular visitors and VIPs, providing space for dining, watching television, reading in a small library, playing games and resting.
Due to its central location in Tampa, visitors can easily access the airport via public transport, with a local bus stop also connecting to the Greyhound Bus terminal in the downtown area. Rental cars, chartered buses and shared van passage services are also available from the airport. Visitors can also get a taxi or drive and stop at the airport parking facilities.
The first commercial flight in the world occurred in Tampa Bay by aviator Tony Jannus in 1914 who flew a Benoist Flying Boat from St Petersburg, Florida. Originally called Drew Field, the airport was used as a military base and training centre during WWI until it was declared an international airport in 1950 and given its current title. A new terminal was constructed in the 1960s, containing the tallest air traffic control tower in the country at that time and the world’s first people mover system used to transport passengers to different airlines.