Here is some information on the airside
Airside C draws nods of approval
Airport officials fall in love with plans for the new airside, which promises to be both efficient and stylish.
By JEAN HELLER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 1, 2003
TAMPA - From above, the scale model building looks a little like airplane wings, fitting enough for a structure that in less than two years will become Tampa International Airport's newest and largest airside terminal.
The board of the Hillsborough County Aviation Administration got its first look Thursday at the concept for the new Airside C, which will replace a cramped and aging building that had notoriously inadequate space for security, restaurants, shops and even passengers.
The new building, with floor-to-ceiling glass window walls, is the latest in a long series of upgrades to the 31-year-old airport complex. Renovations began in the mid-1990s and include the rebuilding of the baggage, ticketing and transfer levels of the Landside terminal, passenger walkways from long-term parking to the main terminal and the construction of a new Airside E, which opened last October.
The new Airside C will cover 355,000 square feet and cost about $130-million. That's 5,000 square feet larger and $10-million more expensive than Airside E, which opened to rave reviews from passengers and airlines.
Southwest Airlines will be the principal tenant of Airside C. The carrier has agreed to take 10 to 12 of the airside's 16 gates. If, as some expect, Southwest eventually takes all 16 gates, Airside C would account for 4-million departing passengers a year.
Even though Southwest's fleet is comprised of all Boeing 737 aircraft, gates at Airside C will be able to accommodate planes up to the size of the Boeing 747 and even the new Airbus 380, a twin-deck, four-aisle aircraft that can carry 555 passengers and is due to go into service in 2006.
The standard for new gates at TIA is that they be able to handle Boeing 757s, medium-range twin-engine airplanes that seat 200 to 230 passengers, said Louis Miller, executive director of the Aviation Authority. "But we don't want to be limited to that," Miller said. "The A380s are huge, and there will be two gates at the new C that can accommodate them."
Before moving into Airside E, Delta Air Lines was the principal tenant in Airside C, and backups at the two security checkpoints were common, as were jams at the narrow escalators that carried passengers and their carry-on baggage to the lower level occupied by gates.
The new airside will open with six to eight security checkpoints, expandable to 10.
"We had to make it expandable so we don't run into a situation like currently exists at Airside F, where they're tearing out walls to build more security lanes," Miller said.
In addition, all passenger services at the new Airside C will be on one level.
Albert Alfonso, president of Alfonso Architects of Tampa, said that in designing the building he tried to bring fun and excitement back to flying.
"We didn't want it to be just another building," Alfonso said. "Some airports make you feel like you're walking through a mall. People have lost the joy of flying. Wouldn't it be great if they got off the shuttle, looked around, and said, "Wow?' "
Airside C will have 13,000 square feet of space reserved for food and beverage service and 6,000 square feet of retail space, compared to 8,000 and 2,500 square feet respectively in Airside E. Like Airside E, Airside C will have a playroom for children. And there will continue to be a premium on short walks to the gate.
"We want walking distances from the time you leave your car to the time you get to your gate not to exceed 1,000 feet," Miller said.
There is even an amenity for professional sports teams whose charter flights come and go through TIA.
"They still have to go through security, but they don't want to come through the main terminal and have players mingling with the public and autograph seekers," Miller said. "So there will be a place under the terminal where their buses can come in, the players can go through security and then go right to their planes."
Board members said they liked what they saw. "I love this; with all those windows you know you're in Florida immediately," said attorney Stephen Mitchell. "And I love the wing design. It really says aviation."
Construction is expected to begin in January with the terminal opening in April 2005.
When Airside C is completed, Southwest and Spirit Airlines will share it, unless Southwest needs the entire building. Then JetBlue Airways and AirTran will move out of Airside D into Airside A. Airside D will then be demolished and rebuilt.