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Airlines Want Flyers To Feel Safe, But Grab Bag Of COVID Policies Adds Turbulence

Jun 26, 2020
As consumers consider traveling again, they discover the public health guidelines in place for flying often are a messy patchwork of precautions that lack the teeth to protect passengers.
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Tony Scott boarded an American Airlines flight May 25 from Los Angeles to Dallas. It was a trip he felt he had to take despite concerns about the coronavirus. His son, who lives in Texas, was having health problems.

A plane lifts off the runway at Tampa International Airport.
Tampa International Airport / flickr

The current Thanksgiving travel season is projected to be the busiest time to fly with more than 26.8 million passengers - a new record, according to the Transportation Safety Administration - flying between November 22 and December 2.

This week on Florida Matters we talk about how some of our region’s airports are changing to make travel more convenient.

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is receiving nearly $20 million in grants from the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Improvement Program.

p1anespotting / Flickr

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport saw more than 2 million passengers for the first time in 2017.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

Big changes are coming to Tampa International Airport, and this week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 23 at 7:30 a.m.), we’re bringing you a special newsmaker edition of the show with airport CEO Joe Lopano.

One of our burning questions: Is it TPA – or TIA? According to Lopano, it’s both.

AP

Air traffic controllers' work schedules often lead to chronic fatigue, making them less alert and endangering the safety of the national air traffic system, according to a study the government kept secret for years.

 Tampa International Airport is beginning a three-year expansion and renovation that will cost almost a billion dollars.

The first steps began Tuesday with the closure of some taxi and bus stands near the baggage claims area.

The biggest changes at the airport will be the construction of a massive rental car facility and a people mover that will run for over a mile.

The $943 million project is scheduled to be completed in 2017.