Study lists Tampa International as No. 3 airport in Florida, puts St. Pete-Clearwater among the worst
Tampa, Florida, skyline with warm sunset light with a commercial passenger jet airliner plane arriving or departing the International Airport.

Passenger jet airliner plane arriving or departing Tampa Interna
Flight delays were a big factor in the rankings.

A recent study from, a vacation rental listing and booking company, showed stark differences between the major airports in the Tampa-St. Pete area.

The outlet indexed all 19 Florida airports and ranked each based on 14 factors. Tampa International Airport ranked third in the state, with a score of 69.97 out of 100. It came in behind Miami International (71.52) and Melbourne Orlando International (73.97).

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, meanwhile, ranked third to last, with a score of just 39.23 out of 100. Only Orlando Sanford International (35.37) and Punta Gorda Airport (33.84) ranked worse.

Rankings were based on the number of scheduled outbound direct flight destinations; average minute delay per flight; average minute delay due to weather; average security delay; average aircraft arrival delay; average cost of hotels within five miles for a single night; and the percentage of all operations canceled.

“Airports that ranked at the bottom of the ranking appear to have longer delay times and cancellations,” a press release from noted.

The study found that St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport has 93 scheduled outbound flights and an average air carrier delay of just over four minutes.

The two airports ranked worse than St. Pete-Clearwater had significantly longer delays, with Punta Gorda averaging a delay of more than 21 minutes in general and more than 46 minutes due to aircraft arriving late. The average delay due to aircraft arriving late at Orlando Sanford was nearly an hour, according to the study, with more than a quarter of all operations delayed on average.

The study did not list details on rankings for other airports, but authors note continued funding for facility expansions across all airports.

“We hope developments should help to make passenger’s traveling experience into Florida more seamless,” they wrote, noting that visitors to the Sunshine State should “choose a destination airport you feel comfortable flying into.”

For travelers, that may mean choosing airlines that fly into larger airports rather than those ranked near the bottom.

Tampa International Airport is often the alternative to St. Pete-Clearwater, which only receives commuter service from budget carriers, such as Allegiant and Sun Country.

Similarly, Orlando Sanford offers flight service from Allegiant, Sun Country and Flair Airlines. Melbourne Orlando International and Orlando International are both nearby alternatives and are ranked at No. 1 and No. 6 in the state, respectively.

Allegiant and Sun Country fly out of Punta Gorda. The nearest alternative airport is Southwest Florida International Airport near Fort Myers and Cape Coral, which ranked No. 8.

Staff Reports


  • PeterH

    July 17, 2023 at 11:04 am

    On the East coast of Florida we need better access to the three major airports. Brightline is a dream come true but it doesn’t link up with airport terminals very well. Tri-Rail needs a complete system and rail car overhaul and modernization. Maybe Tri-Rail should consider a free commute similar to the services offered by Miami’s raised rail loop trains. With so few train services and tracks in South East Florida I don’t understand why the view from the train seat can’t see some beautification. Another logical enhancement would be a direct link between Tri-Rail stations, the beaches, the cruise lines and the three major airports! Florida could be an American leader in hospitality travel transportation!

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    • Roy

      July 29, 2023 at 3:49 am

      Miami’s Tri-Rail goes all the way to the Miami airport intermodal center with a link to the airport lobby via sky train. The metro train also goes to the airport station. Brightline Miami station has a connecting platform to the metro train government station with the orange line to the airport. Amtrak station in Hialeah is only a few blocks from the Tri-Rail station with 2 stops to the airport station. Soon Amtrak plans to service the airport station. They’ve been conducting recent tests.

  • Linx

    July 18, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    This report couldn’t be more wrong! I live in Miami, the airport here is probably amongst the worst major airports in the country.

    TPA however is one of the BEST airports I’ve flown in or out of in the world.

    The trains get you close to the gates. Since each terminal only has about 10 gates, TSA usually isn’t that bad. I’d trade airports with TPA in a heart beat!

    Whoever did this study, surely doesn’t fly from Florida!

    • Antonio

      July 19, 2023 at 5:03 pm

      I was going to type my own retort, but you just said it perfectly. MIA over TPA?? GTFO… 🙂

  • Keith Richard Evans

    July 18, 2023 at 8:36 pm

    This article is complete bull dookie. The St. Pete Clearwater airport is one of the best that I’ve ever been to convenient to get into and out of, and the construction around there while a little bit painful is all for good.

  • Michael S.

    July 20, 2023 at 9:04 am

    Who is the hack journalist who wrote this stupid article? Did it not cross your mind to link to the study itself so we, the readers, could see it? If we don’t have the study it’s impossible to know important details such as:
    1.) How did weigh the various factors in their ranking? For example: security delays should count more heavily against an airport than weather delays, because it turns out airports can’t control the weather. Did their methodology account for this?
    2.) On a related note to #1 the article mentions multiple times how “flight delays were a big factor in the rankings” and then notes third-from-the-bottom St. Pete-Clearwater’s average delay was… four freaking minutes? Are you really sure delays were as big a factor as you’re saying they are? Because 4 minutes is nothing, and it’d be interesting to see what the average delay was for the 16 airports ranked ahead of St.P-C.
    3.) This author briefly mentions that the lowest ranking airports are all secondary hubs to a larger airport and exclusively fly budget airlines Allegiant, Sun Country, etc. Think maybe that had something to do with the rankings? Apparently that’s a question this author’s too intellectually lazy to explore.

    In short: this is a dumb, stupid article that exerts zero effort to understand why the rankings are what they are, and doesn’t offer any solutions except “fly into larger airports rather than those ranked near the bottom…” as if that’s something the nearly 7 million people who flew into the bottom three airports in 2022 never would’ve thought of themselves.

    Brilliant advice, staff writer!

  • Shaun M

    July 20, 2023 at 5:39 pm

    St. Pete Clearwater Airport should be ranked last. Florida Department of Health found inside the contracted restaurant called First Class Concessions rats in the kitchen. Roaches on the soda fountain. No soap at the employee handwash station. Chicken being stored on the top shelf of the freezer. General Manager Jim A loves to fire people for the fun of it. Jim is a pathetic low life scum.

Comments are closed.


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