TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa International Airport saw a record number of passengers in 2017, Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced Thursday morning.

Some 19,624,284 people flew through TPA in 2017. It beat the previous record of 19,154,957 passengers in 2007.

“Their introduction to Tampa {international visitors} comes through this airport, Buckhorn said. “Our ability to tell Tampa’s story here in this building and here in the experiences that these customers and these visitors have with the staff who works here, that person-to-person interaction, often times will set the tone for what’s to come.”

TPA had 77,800 passengers on Dec. 30, 2017, which marked the airport’s busiest day of the year.

The passenger record announcement comes as TPA finishes the largest expansion project in its history. The airport is also preparing to unveil a new 1.5-mile SkyConnect train connecting passengers to a rental car center in February.

TPA is also planning a second phase of construction, which will include expanded main terminal curbsides, offices, a hotel and other commercial development.

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Initially, TPA projected for about 19.5 million passengers in 2017. However, the airport lost about 215,000 passengers due to closures related to Hurricane Irma, according to TPA spokesperson Emily Nipps. The hurricane forced TPA to close for three days.

Graph: Tampa International Airport passengers by year

Nipps said the U.S. recession contributed to TPA's decline in passengers from 2008 to 2009.

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