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  • Joe Breitfeller

FL Airports: Sheltair Breaks Ground at TPA, CLEAR Launches MCO Pilot, MIA Wins Accessibility Award

Florida Airports are making news this week with a number of announcements. Sheltair has broken ground at TPA for a new hangar and office complex, CLEAR will launch a Reservation Lane pilot program at MCO and MIA has won a top accessibility award.

From left to right: Jack Tufano, Vice President, Development and Construction, Sheltair; Todd Anderson, Chief Operating Officer, Sheltair; Joe Lopano, CEO, Tampa International Airport; Lisa Holland, President, Sheltair; Kai Seymour, Property Manager, Sheltair; Tom Craft, Senior Vice President FBO Operations, Sheltair; Lydia Mills, Customer Service Manager TPA, Sheltair; Damian Brooke, Executive Vice President of Finance and Procurement, Tampa International Airport; John Tiliacos, Executive Vice President of Operations and Customer Service, Tampa International Airport; Veronica Cintron, Vice President of Communications, Tampa International Airport; Michael Stephens, General Counsel and EVP of Legal Affairs, Tampa International Airport; Joshua Purvis, Line Service Manager TPA, Sheltair; Chris Minner, Executive Vice President of Marketing, Air Service Development, and Real Estate - Courtesy TPA

On Thursday (October 21, 2021), Tampa International Airport (TPA) announced that Sheltair has broken ground for a new $26 million 100,000 square foot hangar and office expansion to meet the growing needs of their award-winning FBO services. The new facility will provide four state-of-the-art hangars ranging from 14,562 to 33,269 square feet, each with ‘build-to-suit’ office spaces ranging from 5,700 to 14,247 square feet. Each hangar will feature a 28.6 foot door to accommodate a variety of fleets, including large business jets such as the G650 or Global 7500.

In Thursday’s announcement, Sheltair’s President, Lisa Holland, said,

“As a third-generation family business committed to investing in our communities while focusing on meeting and exceeding the needs of the general aviation industry. This new hangar development is testimony to that extraordinary commitment which will add 150 temporary full-time jobs while supporting a vibrant region of commerce and culture.”

Also commenting on Sheltair’s TPA expansion, Tampa International Airport’s CEO, Joe Lopano, said,

“The growth of general aviation and private aircraft operations has been one of the success stories of the past few years, even throughout the pandemic. Sheltair has been a wonderful partner in serving this sector of our business and we're thrilled to welcome this major expansion, which we know will be nothing short of spectacular when it opens next year.”

Sheltair TPA offers 24-hour US customs and executive board rooms and is conveniently located adjacent to the International Plaza Mall, with easy access to major highways, situating the FBO minutes from downtown Tampa and Raymond James Stadium.

Founded in 1963 by Jerry Holland, the father of Sheltair President Lisa Holland, Sheltair is a family owned company with a national reputation for their superior customer focus and service driven corporate culture. The company is America’s largest privately-owned aviation network with 19 award-winning FBOs across Florida, Georgia, Colorado and New York, and a portfolio of over 4.5 million square feet of aviation-related properties nationwide. Sheltair’s services include fueling, ground handling, hangar and office leasing, and turn-key design and building of aviation properties.

In a separate announcement on Thursday (October 21, 2021), Orlando International Airport (MCO) announced that CLEAR will be launching a new Reservation Lane pilot program at MCO, giving departing passengers the opportunity to reserve their spot in security screening lines before arriving at the airport. The ‘Reservation Lane Powered by CLEAR’ is a complimentary travel management experience that debuted at MCO on October 21st.

To participate in the pilot program, customers should visit the website, where they will be prompted to enter their flight details and party size, before seeing available reservation times. The reservation will then be confirmed with a QR code which will allow users to gain priority access to TSA security and screening. The pilot program currently operates between 5:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

In Thursday’s announcement, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority’s Director of Customer Experience, Brian Engle, said,

“Since the very beginning, Orlando International Airport leaders have guided growth and development of Central Florida’s main airport to include innovative technology and to enhance the travel experience. The Reservation Lane service will offer a streamlined process for the modern traveler, allowing us to better deliver The Orlando Experience.”

CLEAR’s CEO, Caryn Seidman-Becker, added,

“The travel experience can be unpredictable – from the moment you step outside your door to the moment you arrive at your destination. We are excited to offer this new experience alongside Orlando International Airport and help give their travelers more predictability and more control over their time.”

A Passenger Uses a Wheelchair Charging Station at Miami International Airport - Courtesy MIA

Finally, in a separate announcement on Friday (October), Miami International Airport (MIA) announced that they have been named the overall winner of the 2021 Airport Accessibility Award during the 6th Annual PRM (Passengers with Reduced Mobility) Leadership Conference, having earned 50 percent of the conference’s 159 attendees from 42 countries.

Commenting on receiving the prestigious award, Miami International Airport’s Director and CEO, Ralph Cutié, said,

“We have made a concerted effort at MIA to engage with the local disability community, understand their needs and provide a smoother travel experience for them. We are honored to receive the 2021 Airport Accessibility Award because of those efforts, and to be recognized by other industry leaders from around the world.”

The conference was organized by PRM software developer Ozion Airport Software, and is an annual one-day event where stakeholders from airlines, airports, service providers and airport authorities discuss improving accessibility for people with disabilities. Last year’s winner was Italy’s Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport, and this year’s runners-up were Seattle International Airport and India’s GMR Hyderabad International Airport.

Source(s): Tampa International Airport, Orlando International Airport, Miami International Airport