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Tampa airport unveils renovations for international passengers

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

International travelers going through Tampa International Airport are in for some changes.

The airport is unveiling pieces of its $27 million renovation of Airside F. The overhaul includes an airy new arrivals hall and new baggage claim carousels for international passengers as well as an upgraded security screening area that both domestic and international passengers will use.

"We believe we have a great opportunity to grow internationally," said TIA chief executive officer Joe Lopano.

Plans for the renovations started about a year ago, after the airport got a new flight to Switzerland, he said.

The new renovations help the airport handle the higher volume, increasing the number of baggage belts from one to two currently and three eventually. There are also some changes to improve convenience, including baggage carts with locking brakes that can be taken on the people mover. Previously, passengers had to claim their bags in the international baggage claim area, then put them on another conveyer belt to be taken over to the main part of the airport near the parking area.

Tourism officials celebrated the improvements as a boost for Bay area tourism.

The airport appearance matters because "people always go to where they feel most welcome and where it's easy to get through," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.

The airport is aiming to add more international flights in the future, possibly to locations including Brazil, Columbia and Germany, said TIA spokeswoman Janet Zink.

 

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