Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano says he will retire.
Lopano broke the news to TPA's board Thursday morning. Lopano's contract ends in April 2025, but he will leave before that if the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority board finds a new CEO.
The board will begin searching for a new CEO immediately, according to a TPA spokesperson.
Lopano has had a long run as TPA CEO, starting on Jan. 1, 2011. He was appointed after serving 14 years at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where he rose to executive vice president of marketing and terminal management.
Lopano saw the airport through challenging times, including the pandemic and TPA's largest renovation. And the airport boomed under Lopano, only the third TPA CEO since 1965.
It just finished the past fiscal year with record revenues — $381 million for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2023. And it had record passenger numbers, projecting an even stronger performance in 2024, with 25.2 million passengers estimated, airport officials say.
TPA often won major rankings, including being named the No. 1 large airport in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power in 2022 and 2023.
Additionally, Lopano and the airport team worked to add international and nonstop domestic destinations. Under Lopano, airport officials say, TPA and the Aviation Authority implemented a successful incentive program that attracted new international routes such as Edelweiss Air to Zurich; Copa Airlines to Panama City; Lufthansa to Frankfurt, Germany; and Virgin Atlantic to London Heathrow.
TPA expansions include the rental car center, the SkyConnect train system, the Blue Express Curbsides and a concessions redevelopment program that brought several local brands to TPA's shops and restaurants, airport officials say.
TPA is now building the Red Express Curbsides and will break ground this year on a fifth new terminal, Airside D, to open in 2028, according to airport officials.
In total, Lopano has 40 years in the aviation field, having also worked in various top marketing roles at Lufthansa, British West Indies Airlines and and Continental Airlines.
Lopano serves on the boards of the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council, where he is the 2024 chairperson, and the Hillsborough County Transportation Planning Organization, according to his airport bio. Nationally, he serves on the Airports Council International World Governing Board.
Lopano received a bachelor's degree in finance and accounting from Pace University in New York City. He and his wife, Janet, live in South Tampa and have three grown children and six grandchildren.