A draft budget for 2004 raises the possibility that passenger counts and revenue may be higher than before Sept. 11.
TAMPA - All things being equal, officials at Tampa International Airport expect passenger counts and revenue next year to match or exceed the records that were being set before the 2001 terrorist attacks.
It's the "all things being equal" part that's tricky.
"That's the way it looks if nothing else happens," said Louis Miller, executive director of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority. "Seems like just yesterday we were worried about Y2K, doesn't it?"
A draft budget for fiscal 2004, released Thursday, will be reviewed by the Aviation Authority board at a workshop next week. The draft forecasts that boarding passengers at TIA next year will number nearly 8.2-million, exactly where the airport stood when all flying stopped on Sept. 11, 2001, three weeks before the end of the 2001 fiscal year.
Food and beverage revenue is expected to exceed $5-million, $1-million more than in 2001 and more than $300,000 more than this year. General merchandise revenue also is projected to reach a new high, at $3.6-million.
Car rental revenue, one of the airport's biggest moneymakers and an area that took one of the biggest financial hits after the terrorist attacks, also is expected to reach a new high at $24-million. And parking, another major source of airport revenue, is forecast to reach nearly $40-million, another all-time high.
Revenue from all sources is expected to reach nearly $137-million, according to the draft budget, with total operating expenses of just more than $66-million.