Tampa International Airport (TPA) in the US has broken ground on its $1bn expansion project that is expected to create or preserve 9,000 short-term construction jobs.
The project will include a rental car facility, a new 1.4-mile people mover, a renovated main terminal with new concessions, and an outdoor terrace.
The third-floor terminal will be expanded and renovated into a sleeker building with enough room for ventilation. The dining, drinking and shopping areas will also be redone.
The airport will be raising $689m in new bonds which will cover 73% of the cost by new debt. While the state will be contributing $194m, the airport will be using $60m in grants. The bonds will be financed by fees paid by airline passengers and increased rental car fees.
Apart from the state grant, the airport's expansion is being funded with a mixture of airport bond initiatives and federal grants.
This will be the first major expansion at Tampa Airport that was opened in 1971.
The Sun Coast News quoted board chairman Robert Watkins as saying: "The airport is the crown jewel of this community and this first phase of a multi-year master plan will help double its passenger capacity from 17 million today to 34 million by 2033."
Airport CEO Joe Lopano said: "We're going to do everything in our power to minimise the impacts of this construction effort. Customer satisfaction has always been the highest priority at TPA and that's especially true as the airport expands to meet its future needs."
Currently, the airport employs around 7,500 employees that include people working for the airlines, the airport, rental car companies, restaurants and shops.
On an average, the airport contributes around $7.8bn annually to the local economy.
Image: An aerial view of the Tampa International Airport. Photo: courtesy of Tpa ops27.