TAMPA, FL – Tampa International Airport’s new SkyConnect people-mover system and Rental Car Center opened Wednesday, Feb. 14. The 1.5-mile SkyConnect system links the Main Terminal to the Economy Garage and the 2.6-million-square-foot Rental Car Center. From one end to the other, the ride takes less than 5 minutes. Trains arrive at each station roughly every 2 minutes.
Airport officials and Gov. Rick Scott dedicated the SkyConnect and the new Rental Car Center last week.
"This project is worthy of our history and will be admired just as we admire the designs from the past," Airport CEO Joe Lopano told the crowd at last week’s dedication.
The Rental Car Center is home to 16 rental car brands and brings new efficiencies with fueling, car washing and vehicle maintenance services all located at the same location for the first time. This allows passengers to get in and out more rapidly, especially during peak passenger times, airport officials said.
All passengers will have access to kiosks for boarding passes and checking bags at the Rental Car Center.
"We’re making it more convenient, not just for our rental car customers, but for economy parkers and the general public," said Lopano.
He said the SkyConnect and state-of-the-art Rental Car Center creates an airport capable of handling a greater number of passengers.
In 2017, the airport served a record 19.6 million passengers and expects to serve more than 20 million in 2018.
"These passenger numbers are significant and underscore the importance of Tampa International Airport’s Master Plan projects and the need to build now and build smart," said Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Chairman Robert Watkins.
In addition to the new people-mover system and Rental Car Center, the airport has redone its Main Terminal transfer level, adding four outdoor terraces, and expanding the footprint by about the size of a football field. The transfer level is lighter, more open with more modern amenities.
The airport has also completed work on most of the 69 new shops and restaurants, including many of the local options such as Buddy Brew, Ulele, Goody Goody and RumFish Grill.
With Phase 1 coming to a close, the airport is ramping up on Phase 2, which includes the construction of new curbsides, a commercial development area and supporting projects. Phase 3 will include the construction of a new airside with additional gates.
Once all three phases are complete, the airport will have the ability to serve 34 million annual passengers.
Image and video via Tampa International Airport