Airport Concessions Flying High in Tampa

Concessions, which include food, beverage, merchandise, public parking, car rentals, the Marriott Hotel, duty-free shops and In-Flight Kitchens grew by nearly 30 percent between the 2002 and 2005 fiscal years.


Nov. 4--TAMPA -- Concession revenues, a principal source of income for operations and improvements at Tampa International Airport, are blowing the roof off.

Concessions, which include food, beverage, merchandise, public parking, car rentals, the Marriott Hotel, duty-free shops and In-Flight Kitchens grew by nearly 30 percent between the 2002 and 2005 fiscal years, which at TIA end on Sept. 30.

"Just look at the numbers," Louis Miller, executive director of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, told his board on Thursday. "Food and beverage at the airsides, up 72 percent, merchandise at the airsides up 58 percent, car rentals up 29 percent. Tampa International Airport is now the seventh largest car rental facility in the country."

There are several reasons for the growth. Passenger numbers at the airport have been posting double-digit increases for most of the past two years. And two airsides opened in the past three years.

Airside E, principal home to Delta Air Lines, replaced the dark, cramped uninviting Airside C, offering a wide variety of shops and eateries. Then Airside C was demolished and replaced and opened last spring as the principal home of Southwest Airlines, relieving congestion in Airside A.

The increase in passenger numbers benefited concessions in the landside terminal. Food and beverage revenue rose more than 22 percent in three years. Merchandise sales were up more than 7 percent despite the closure of the popular Museum Company.

Parking revenue rose more than 30 percent, aided by rate increases. Hotel revenue was up nearly 16 percent and the duty-free shops reported increases of nearly 65 percent.

The only red ink was for In-Flight Kitchens, off more than 21 percent as airlines continued to scale back catering.

Gross revenue in 2002, Miller told the board, was nearly $320-million. For fiscal year 2005, that figure rose to nearly $410-million.

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