An infrastructure project that seeks to position Tallahassee International (TLH) as the international gateway to northwest Florida is getting underway this month.
The $28 million International Processing Facility is part of a five-year plan to enhance and modernize infrastructure that aims to increase the airport’s annual economic impact from $599 million to $1 billion.
The new facility will allow TLH to accommodate international flights and give the ability for goods to be shipped to and received from worldwide destinations. It is expected to open for service in 2024.
Speaking to Routes, City of Tallahassee director of aviation David Pollard said the expansion would enable capacity to keep pace with demand.
“We expect the new facility will help us pass the 1 million annual passenger milestone,” he said. “To get to a true international airport, it’s a pretty long drive from Tallahassee at the moment.
“We therefore believe we’ll be able to further stimulate traffic, not just from North Florida, but also from South Georgia.”
Tallahassee International handled 184,927 passengers during the first quarter of 2022, equivalent to 93.9% of the total achieved during the same period in 2019. Three carriers currently provide scheduled service: OAG Schedules Analyser shows that American Airlines accounts for 51.7% of the market; Delta Air Lines for 43.9%; and Silver Airways for 4.4%
Pollard said a key ambition for the airport is to attract an LCC to offer both US domestic and international routes. “That’s what we’re really focused on because its really going to stimulate the market and pull more passengers in,” he added.
Initial planning for the international processing facility began in 2014 and is part of a masterplan approved by the FAA and Florida Department of Transportation. The project will provide for a terminal expansion to house a US Customs and Border Protection-approved international port-of-entry and a federal inspection station that will serve both commercial air service and general aviation needs at TLH.