Airport of the World: Orlando International Airport


Orlando International Airport is the only gateway to the heart of Florida – a world business and vacation destination – with more natural and man-made attractions than anywhere else under the sun. From the moment you arrive, you will notice that Orlando International Airport is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated and environmentally-concerned airports in the nation. It is practically an attraction in itself. Both inside and out, the airport has incorporated the celebrated Florida sunshine and atmosphere into its ultra-modern design. An enclosed elevated passenger shuttle system links the gates to the tri-level main terminal, giving the passengers a view of the incredible Florida environment.

History and Facts

The area where Orlando International Airport is situated once belonged to the McCoy Air Force base, which was closed back in 1974. In 1975 the greater Orlando Aviation Authority was created by a special legislative act. In that same year the deed was received by the City for surplus land for airport facility use. In 1976, the airport that today is one of the airports best-liked by travelers, was born. In that year it received international airport status and was renamed Orlando International Airport.

Airport Statistics

Enplanements Operations
FY2011 : 26609000 572000
FY96 : 11791816 341942
FY95 : 10584116 343609
FY94 : 10453014 344213

Growth in: Enplanements Operations
(%) (%)
FY96-FY2011: 125.7 67.3
FY95-FY96 : 11.4 -.5

In 1978 the construction began on a new terminal which was opened in 1981. The construction of the international concourse started in 1983 and was opened in 1984 complete with U.S. Customs and Immigration Services. The 3rd runway was opened in 1989 followed by the opening of the 3rd airside terminal with 24 gates and 15 commuter aircraft positions in 1990.

According to the Airports Council International, Orlando International Airport was the 4th fastest growing major airport in the U.S. in 1997. The primary cause for the growth is that the Orlando area, home of world-famous attractions such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, has become one of the fastest-growing tourist markets in the world. The Disney complex alone draws an estimated 50 million visitors a year and the Orlando area is projected to reach in excess of 60 million visitors per annum by 2000. In turn, this tourist market has led to growth in the convention trade and businesses – including high-tech industries and a rapidly growing film and television production community -which have become secondary contributors to rapid air-traffic growth. The metropolitan Orlando area has been projected as the No. 1 growth region in the nation for the 1996-2001 time period.

With a total of 27,305,149 passengers Orlando International Airport was the 23rd largest airport in the world, and the 16th largest in the U.S., ranked by the number of passengers. IATA’s 1997 Airport Monitor ranked Orlando International Airport as the second best in North America for overall passenger convenience. An example of passenger convenience is the following; the average time it takes international passengers to get from the aircraft through customs, immigration and baggage claim is just 46 minutes.

Even with an annual budget exceeding $200 million, no local tax dollars are used to fund the airport – all funding comes from the airlines, hotel and concessions, parking and ground transportation, rental car companies, Tradeport, and Federal grants. The largest single source of revenue for the airport is car rental. With more than 700,00 visitors per week, Orlando is considered the car-rental capital of the world. Roughly 60% of all domestic visitors and 70% of domestic leisure visitors rent cars.

Orlando International Air-port is the world’s first airport to have a micro-brewery – The Shipyard Brewing Co. – which opened in April 1997. The brewery produces four different types of beer plus a “special of the week”. It also sells brewery-related merchandise and gives tours at no charge. Shipyard beer is offered at the Shipyard Brew Pub, restaurants and bars throughout the airport.

Cargo facilities
As a major cargo center, which handles a huge a-mount of the State’s flowers, plants and nursery stock exports, Orlando Interna-tional Airport has im-pressive facilities for those who have to do business on site. Orlando accounts for approximately 80% of the cargo activity in Central Florida. It is also important to remember that Orlando is ideally located as a gateway between Latin America and Europe or Asia.

Some reasons why one should ship cargo through Orlando International Airport are:

potential to expand to over 1 million square feet of warehouse space;
on-airport, 205 acre Foreign Trade Zone;
onsite U.S. Customs clearance and U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection at the Perishable Center;
Centralized Examination Station;
direct rail access by FEC to major cities in the Southeast adjacent to Tradeport;
connects through the uncongested local road network around the airport;
rapid road access to the nine deep-water ports of Florida.
Airport improvements: MasterPlan 95
Orlando is a busy place and getting busier. In order to double its capacity by 2014, Orlando International Airport started a $240 million con-struction program in 1997 – aimed at improvements to public and employee parking, ground-transportation facili-ties and terminals – as the interim phase of an expansion program. The overall pro-gram, expected to cost around $3.5 billion, was de-veloped under a master plan in 1995 and was approved in 1996. The overall $3.5 billion expansion program is aimed at three “planning horizons” designed to handle growth in stages of 30 million passen-gers, 37.5 million and 55 million.

Phase I
The primary result of the expansion program will be a new South Terminal, duplicating the function but not necessarily the design of the North Terminal. Under Phase I projections, the number of jet gates should increase from 80 to 93, while commuter airline parking positions increase from 19 to 27. The stress capacity will rise from 27 million to 33 million. Cost of Phase I is estimated at around $779 million. All Phase I projects should be completed during 2002 and 2003.

Overview of Airport Expansion Plans:

# of jet gates # of commuter parking positions # of passengers forecast
1997 figures 80 19 25.6 million (1997)
Phase I 93 27 33.0 million (2004)
Phase II 110 34 38.6 million (2005)
Phase III 140 42 55.9 million (2014)

Phase II

By the year 2005, the 37.5 million-passenger level is expected to be reached with a total forecast of 38.6 million. In order to be able to serve this amount of traffic, Orlando International Airport will need 110 jet gates and 34 commuter parking positions.

Phase III
This phase is forecast to be reached between 2013, when 53.8 million passengers are expected, and 2014, with 55.9 million forecast. At that time, 140 jet gates and 42 commuter positions will be needed.

Step by step Orlando International Airport is reaching toward its goal and that is being able to handle the growth in passengers and being able to serve them in the best possible way.

Orlando International Airport will have to keep proving that it is a: world-class airport for a world-class destination

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