Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano is stepping down in 2025
Joe Lopano, the airport's CEO since 2011, has overseen several major expansion projects. He said he will pursue his "next dream" of spending more time with family.
Joe Lopano, who has overseen several major expansion projects as CEO of Tampa International Airport, is stepping down after his contract expires in April 2025.
Lopano, who has been head of the airport for the last 13 years, made the announcement Thursday during a regularly scheduled Hillsborough County Aviation Authority board meeting.
Lopano said he is stepping down to "pursue my next dream of spending more time with my wife, family, friends, and the many grandchildren who have come into my life recently.”
“I’m so proud of my team and all that we’ve accomplished over the last 13 years, which was much more than I set out to do when I started,” Lopano said in a news release.
The airport has undergone significant growth during Lopano's tenure.
It is currently in the process of a multi-billion-dollar expansion, including the recent additions of a Rental Car Center and SkyConnect train system, along with the Blue Express Curbsides and several new shops and restaurants.
A new Airside D terminal is scheduled to open in 2028 as well.
The airport has also added several international routes — including flights to Zurich, Panama and Frankfurt — as it's projected to grow from 23.5 million annual visitors to 39 million over the next two decades.
“It’s been an amazing run, and I’m grateful for the privilege to serve as CEO of America’s Favorite Airport and have the support of this wonderful community,” Lopano said in the release. “I’m excited to see what’s next for us, and look forward to assisting the Board and my team in ensuring the next generation of leadership can lead this Airport and organization to even greater heights.”
Among Lopano's accomplishments, according to the release:
- The airport was the first in the U.S. to launch on-site COVID testing for departing and arriving passengers
- It was the first to build express lanes
- It was the first to test electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, or “air taxis.”
“Without question, Joe has built an incredible culture and legacy here,” Brig. Gen. Chip Diehl, airport authority board chair, said in the release. “While his departure leaves huge shoes to fill, he has set us up for enormous success in every way possible, and we’re incredibly thankful for his contributions to TPA, to the state of Florida and to the aviation industry.”
Lopano is the third CEO in airport history. Prior to joining TPA in 2011, he served as an executive at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and held leadership positions at Continental Airlines.
Lopano also currently serves on the boards of the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council and the Hillsborough County Transportation Planning Organization.
The aviation authority's board of directors say they will begin an internal search for a new CEO immediately. The search is expected to take several months.
"As with everything we do at Tampa International Airport, I want to look ahead to our future and be proactive in meeting the needs of this Airport and the Tampa Bay community,” Lopano said. “With the Board’s guidance and an amazingly talented staff in place, I have no doubt we’ll be in excellent hands as we advance our mission of fostering prosperity for our community well into the future.”