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Up to Speed: TPA makes plans for airport of the future

People living in the Tampa Bay area can give their input into what TPA could look like in the future. High tech upgrades are included in the 20-year master plan.

TAMPA, Fla — Leaders at Tampa International Airport are working on their master plan to expand the airport and its reach within the community. High tech upgrades are included.

Between 15 to 25 million people fly in and out of Tampa International Airport every year. That number is only expected to grow. It's why leaders at TPA are working on their Master Plan, with a goal to improve your travel experience.

CEO Joe Lopano says the multi-year, multi-billion-dollar plan will set TPA up to be prepared for the growth. 

“You’re going to see a lot more hands-free. You're going to be able to board an airplane without talking to anyone,” he said.

Another one of the goals is to turn the airport into more of a community, an "aerotropolis."  An aerotropolis is a metropolitan area where infrastructure, land use, and economy are centered around the airport. While that is part of what’s to come, the latest portion of the master plan focuses on expansion and future demand. Plans include self-driving cars, contactless baggage drop, electric planes, an airport expansion, and a new runway.

With economic development being a driver for the Tampa Bay area, leaders are hosting a series of public meetings to get community input on what residents like and don’t like. After that, they’ll move forward with a clearer picture and finalize plans for their latest master plan update.

We’re talking about the next 20 years of improvements with a goal to make the travel experience better and easier. The hope is to finish the plan by the end of 2023 so they can start working on the plan.

TPA currently holds the top spot as the best airport in the country right now.

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