We interview this Orlando International Airport executive for updates about current renovations and holiday travel tips.
More than 50 percent of Orlando’s visitors arrive by air, and international traffic is at an all-time high. As the secondbusiest airport in Florida and 14th busiest in the U.S., with 35 million annual passengers flying nonstop to 75 domestic and 50 international destinations, Orlando International Airport has embarked on its largest expansion in history.
The airport is underway with capital improvements valued at over $1.3 billion including a new south terminal. How will it affect passengers?
Along with a brand-new south terminal, we’re building a people-moving complex with added facilities for parking and ground transportation. There, passengers will be able to check in and board a train that will carry them to the current north terminal. Future plans call for the facility to house the All Aboard Florida train system that goes from Miami to Orlando as well as the ability to accommodate SunRail and a railway connected to International Drive. In terms of renovation, we will be updating our original people-moving train system, enhancing our international arrival area and expanding our ticket lobby to employ a combination of access to technology, efficient processes and personnel.
How did the recent addition of non-stop Emirates air service between Orlando and Dubai come to fruition?
This has been in development for 10 years and wouldn’t have happened without the help of our community partners. Welcoming an airline that’s recognized throughout the world for its outstanding customer service only enhances Orlando’s reputation.
OIA has beautiful artwork. Tell us the role art plays in enhancing passengers’ airport experience.
Art has been an integral part of the airport since the airport was planned. Airports were originally built based on the needs of the aircraft. OIA was designed from the inside out in an effort to bring the outdoors in. When you look at Florida, you think water, plants and sunshine. We want passengers to know as soon as they step off the plane that they’re in Florida, specifically Central Florida. We want the airport to serve as the welcoming mat and first impression to our community.
What travel tips can you share with Orlando visitors this holiday season?
Pack lightly. Make sure to check your airline’s guidelines for luggage requirements and fees. Come prepared with all necessary documents. Check what’s allowed in your carryon ahead of time. Log on to Orlando MCO app for more information and help getting around the airport. But perhaps the biggest tip is to have patience. It is a busy time of year, so arrive with sufficient time for your flight. If you come early enough, you can even get a last-minute mani
cure or massage.