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Florida DOT Names Tampa International Airport’s Blue Express Curbsides as Top Project of the Year

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has named Tampa International Airport’s Blue Express Curbsides Expansion project as the 2022 Commercial Service Airport Project of the Year.

Tampa International Airport's Blue Express Curbsides Entrance - Courtesy TPA

On Monday (August 1, 2022), Tampa International Airport (TPA) announced that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has named the airport’s Blue Express Curbsides Expansion project as the 2022 Commercial Airport Service Project of the Year. Opened in November 2021, the project is the first of its kind in the U.S., expediting time to and from the gates for travelers without checked baggage. The added express lanes are a vital component of the Airport’s Phase 2 Master Plan, with the goal of decongesting the Main Terminal facilities for future capacity expansion. FDOT awarded the honor to TPA at the Florida Airports Annual Conference on Sunday, July 31st, 2022. The award is given to the airport that demonstrates “outstanding achievements in aesthetics, safety and service.”\

In Monday’s announcment, Tampa International Airport’s (TPA’s) CEO, Joe Lopano, said,

“Passenger needs and expectations are changing. Our Blue Express Curbsides will better serve our guests and enhance an already smooth experience. On top of that, we’ll also be making our Main Terminal more efficient, decongesting busy areas and helping us prolong the life of our facilities.”

Tampa International Airport's New Blue Express Interior - Courtesy TPA

As part of the project, the airport doubled the lanes for the Blue Side arrivals and departures. Since most travelers don’t check bags, Express Curbsides were envisioned to expedite travel time to and from gates by bypassing ticketing or baggage claim levels. Travelers dropped off at the Blue Express Curbsides can simply take the elevator, escalator or stairs up one level to the Main Terminal Transfer Level, where they can then take a shuttle to the Airside’s TSA Security checkpoint, thereby eliminating the need to walk through the ticketing level.

Arriving passengers will also appreciate the short walk from the Main Terminal to the Blue Express pick-up level, to meet their driver, thus avoiding baggage claim altogether. The new option also assists with the passenger flow throughout TPA, helping to alleviate the buildup of long lines at check-in, security, and other areas throughout the airport. The Blue Express Curbsides also include architectural features that convey the look and feel of the Tampa Bay region, with the roof and lighting representing the ocean, and abstract artwork representing indigenous plant life.

The airport also commissioned two public art pieces and included passenger amenities such as oversized chairs with charging ports, restrooms and large open spaces to traverse. Currently, construction is underway for eight additional express curbsides at TPA, which will be added to the airport’s Red Side as part of the Master Plan expansion. The Red Side Curbs are expected to be completed by 2025.

Source: Tampa International Airport


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