Airport renovations planned

Published May 18, 2007

DAVIS ISLANDS - Changes are coming, in time, to Peter O. Knight Airport.

The Davis Islands airfield was Tampa's main airport from 1935 to 1945, long before the advent of Tampa International Airport. Now it's used for a variety of commercial and personal flights.

Members of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority and TIA advised residents earlier this week of some of their plans over the next few years.

They include adding more hangars to allow for approximately 25 more planes, said Paul Phillips, TIA's director of general aviation. TIA oversees the Davis Islands airfield, among others.

Another project involves adjusting the airport's primary runway to create a longer buffer zone between it and the water.

Right now, one end of the runway has only a 60-foot buffer zone, which could be problematic if, say, a pilot were to land a little short. Current regulations require a 240-foot stretch.

The changes, part of a five-year comprehensive plan, will take time.

The runway alteration, which is budgeted for about $1.8-million, won't be instituted until next year at the earliest.

The hangar development project, which also includes other infrastructure work such as new taxi lanes to direct the planes to the runways, also likely will begin early next year. Costs are budgeted between $2-million and $3-million, Phillips said.

Rick Gershman can be reached at rgershman@sptimes.com or 226-3431.