St Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (IATA: PIE) is a joint civilian-military airport located on the west shoreline of Tampa Bay, north of St Petersburg. Originally known as Pinellas International Airport, the St Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport’s construction at its present site was started in March 1941. The US Government gave the airport property to Pinellas County for operation as a commercial airport after WWII.
Built over an area of 1,918 acres, the airport represents the region’s major transportation facility, handling about 777,000 passengers a year. It is served by many airlines offering flights to various US and Canadian destinations. It also hosts connecting flights to the rest of the world. A number of charter carriers are hosted at the airport.
Nearly 80% of the airport’s annual operations are represented by general aviation. Corporate and business users contribute around 60% of the airport’s annual general aviation operations. Local businesses own approximately 25% of the aircraft based at the airport. Military operations constitute 10% of the airport’s annual aircraft activity.
In August 2010, the airport won the FDOT’s ‘Commercial Service Airport of the Year’ award for its safety, aesthetics and airport management.
Master plan / expansion
In order to provide a balanced airport system that stays ahead of future demand, PBS&J was contracted by St Petersburg-Clearwater to carry on a 20-year master plan update.
The 2002-2022 master plan update was completed in January 2004. It contained a long range expansion plan for the airport’s operations and associated facilities. Apart from the ongoing master plan update, PBS&J also developed phasing and financial plans to accomplish the developments proposed in the update. The US Customs and Immigration Facility and a new baggage claim area were built at the airport as provided for in the master plan.
In June 2010, Ajax Building Corporation completed an extensive renovation that was designed to enhance customer service. A new terminal was built with an upgraded infrastructure and improved security checkpoints.
The $13.3m renovation project was completed in two phases. In phase one, which was completed at a cost of $8.8m in 2009, the ticketing and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening areas were upgraded, the passenger gate area was enlarged and a new baggage conveyor system and central air conditioning were added. It was followed by phase two, which involved replacement of roofing, side-walks, doors, flooring and elevators, at a cost of $4.5m.
A fund of $5.35m was provided for the airport renovations through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The passenger terminal is served by 11 terminal gates and is divided into three areas – baggage claim, ticketing area A and ticketing area B.
The baggage claim area includes three baggage carousels and information booths. Ticketing area A features ticketing counters for USA 3000, Allegiant, SunWing and Transat airlines. Ticketing area B houses ticketing counters for two airlines, security checkpoints, and US Customs.
Amenities available at the passenger terminal include a restaurant, kiosks, a gift shop, and an on-airport golf course. A full-service lounge is available on the second floor of the terminal. Rental car desks are present in the baggage claim area.
St Petersburg-Clearwater Airport has four asphalt-grooved runways – 4/22, 9/27, 17L/35R and 17R/35L.
Runway 4/22 is 5,900ft-long and 150ft-wide, and has medium intensity runway edge lights. Runway 9/27 has a length of 5,165ft and breadth of 150ft.
The 17L/35R runway, equipped with an instrument landing system (ILS), has a length of 9,730ft and breadth of 150ft. It is also equipped with high intensity runway edge lights. The fourth runway, 17R/35L, is 4,000ft-long and 75ft-wide.
St Petersburg-Clearwater security
St Petersburg-Clearwater has a fully operational facial recognition screening system, provided by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and installed by Viisage Technology.
TSA is responsible for security screening of passengers at the airport. Information for international travellers is provided by US Customs & Border Protection (US-VISIT Program).
Ticketing area B is installed with an in-line checked baggage inspection system which is capable of screening 500 bags per hour.
Parking and car rental
Short and long term parking is provided from two hours prior to the first flight of the day and one hour after the arrival of the last flight. A remote parking lot is available when other parking options reach full capacity.