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USF Libraries Exhibits

Airplanes and modern transportation

One of the country’s first regularly-scheduled flight services was actually offered in Tampa; in 1914, for a fare of $5, passengers could fly twice daily across Tampa Bay between Tampa and St. Petersburg in a Benoist Air Boat. Widespread commercial air service was still decades away, however. By the early 1970s, service at airports in Tampa, Orlando, and Miami had fully transitioned from military and other private flights to primarily commercial flights, with regular international service to a long list of major American cities. Today, Orlando International Airport, with its proximity to some of the world’s most popular theme parks and other tourist destinations, is the busiest in the state, serving more than 17 million passengers annually. In all, the twenty commercial airports in Florida today serve more than 60 million passengers annually.