ORLANDO, FL. – Orlando International Airport (MCO), the second largest airport in the state of Florida, welcomes the U.S. Travel Association’s IPW, the travel industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the U.S. to Central Florida.
“Last year Orlando set national records for the number of visitors to “The City Beautiful” with over 62 million and networking conferences of this caliber are a catalyst to help our region and airport continue with record breaking growth for years to come,” says Frank Kruppenbacher, Chairman of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.
In 2014 international traffic hit a record 4.3 million accounting for more than 12.3 percent of the overall volume at Orlando International Airport. So far this year MCO is on pace to set new international and overall records with more than 36.4 million passengers on a rolling12-month basis.
Reasons Why Orlando International
Orlando and Central Florida are premier destinations for a number of reasons. Some of the most important are the planned growth to meet future demand, air service development and excellent customer service.
From the world-class theme parks to all 18,000 members of the airport staff, a strong emphasis has been placed on providing unsurpassed customer service. Orlando International has established a new customer service department whose mission is to find ways to enhance our customer service efforts. To achieve this goal, superior customer service is weighed in three main categories; Comfort, Ease and Speed. For comfort, new seating that features built-in docking and charging stations is being introduced throughout the terminal.
And an element of local performing talent and entertainment is being incorporated in the main terminal area during peak travel times. Ease of travel is being achieved in part through the redesigning and re-deployment of signage around the airport. Using technology and innovation has also helped increase speed and efficiency. MCO introduced its own App and was the first airport in the nation to introduce Blue Dot guidance technology throughout the entire terminal complex.
MCO also pioneered the usage of international automated passport kiosks. Orlando International Airport is the first U.S. airport to welcome travelers from visa waiver countries with innovative biometric kiosks to expedite the arrival experience. These self-service kiosks are now operational and processing international passengers who have Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel.
The passenger-friendly kiosk enable travelers from arriving international flights to complete their Customs Declaration Form on touch-screens, have passports read and fingerprints and facial images captured.
The innovative system adopts a “land, touch, go” concept that enhances the arrival experience.
Building for the Future
To maintain the highest level of customer service, the Authority Board has launched two multi-billion dollar projects to meet anticipated growth and capacity needs in the future.
In May, the design and construction process was approved for a new $1.8 billion South Terminal Complex, which will house 16-24 additional gates south of the airport’s current complex. As part of its design, the new South Terminal will accommodate the largest aircraft in production including the A380.
Work is already underway on several projects that are part of a $1.1 billion Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Construction has begun on the new Automated People Mover (APM) Complex and the Intermodal Terminal Facility (ITF). The APM Complex will link the airport’s north and south properties. The ITF will provide greater connectivity to the region and the state with the capability to handle four individual rail lines, including inter-city passenger rail, commuter rail and light rail.
Other elements of the CIP include:
- Ticket lobby expansion to incorporate new technology and provide greater capacity
- Renovation of curbside canopies
- Baggage system improvements for increased efficiency
- Replacing Automated People Mover (APM) trains to Airsides 1 & 3
- Additional central energy plant
- Restroom renovations at Airside 4
- North Terminal cell phone lot with restrooms
- Adding international gates to accommodate new large aircraft
- Expanding Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities
“These decisions allow us to begin the complex process of developing a new south terminal facility,” said Phil Brown, Executive Director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. “We want to accommodate the passenger traffic, which in our rolling 12-month figures is almost up to pre-recession levels, while delivering our trademark level of high customer service.”
MCO offers more non-stop domestic travel options than any other airport in Florida and non-stop access to 46 international destinations.
MCO’s growth can be directly attributed to an increase in seats to the market. Frontier Airlines lead the way with a 215 percent increase or about 96 thousand additional seats. Spirit, Southwest, Delta, JetBlue and American also had sizable increases in seating availability to Central Florida, combining to add over 228,000 new seats in March.
Additional flights were also added. Silver Airways started 14 flights per week to Panama City, FL; Norwegian started weekly service to Copenhagen; Delta added a third daily flight to Los Angeles and British Airways increased service from 7 to 14 flights per week to London.
A large portion of the international growth can be attributed to a number of factors, including new service from Azul, Silver and Sunwing Airlines along with increases in passenger capacity and volume from Copa, Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic, Southwest, Air Transat, TAM and AeroMexico.
Over the past 12 months Orlando has welcomed new airline service from Norwegian, Azul and Thomas Cook Airlines to name a few. Upcoming service enhancements include:
- TAM service to Brasilia on June 12
- LAN Peru to Lima on June 20
- Emirates to Dubai on September 1
- Iceland Air to Reykjavik in September
- JetBlue to Mexico City on October 1
- Delta to Sao Paulo on December 19
Orlando International is located in the center of the state of Florida which affords unprecedented access for business and leisure travelers to both of Florida’s coasts, theme parks and “Medical City”, located just off airport property. MCO is also within a two-hour drive of more than 60 percent of the state’s population.
Basic MCO Information:
Orlando International Airport, with nearly 36 million annual passengers, is the second busiest airport in Florida and 14th busiest in the U.S. The airport has approximately 18,000 badged employees and generates $31 billion in direct and indirect revenue for the regional economy. Orlando International Airport strives to value and delight its customers through a design concept known as The Orlando Experience.®