August 24, 2009
By Sarah Brown
When visitors stream into Tampa, Fla., for AOPA Aviation Summit Nov. 5 through 7, Peter O. Knight Airport will be ready with newly surfaced runways, new lighting, and additional parking and hangar facilities.
Peter O. Knight launched improvement projects late last year to be ready for AirportFest, the component of Aviation Summit that includes aircraft displays, demonstrations, exhibits, and aviation-related activities at the airport. The improvements include shifting Runway 3/21 to increase the runway safety area adjacent to Seddon Channel, and building a new hangar with eight covered bays for small twin-engine aircraft.
“We felt very strongly about making the airport look brand-new for all of our visitors,” said Paul Phillips, director of general aviation at Peter O. Knight. In addition to the runway shift and the new hangar, Phillips said, the airport will have new pavement throughout, additional parking facilities, and new runway and taxiway lighting—all in time for AirportFest.
The improvements at Peter O. Knight will add to the allure of an airport that is already a prime destination. The airport is on Davis Islands, just minutes from downtown Tampa.
“The view is priceless,” Phillips said. “If you look out one side of our terminal building, you look out at Tampa Bay. If you look out the north side of our building, you see the city of Tampa skyline. There is no prettier airport in the nation.”
Tampa hosted AOPA’s annual convention in 2005, and Phillips said the event “was a great economic benefit for the community and for the airport.”
This year, AOPA Aviation Summit and AirportFest have even more to offer.
“We just feel lucky that we’re able to participate in this seventieth anniversary of AOPA’s founding,” Phillips said.
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