My Or­lando

Carolyn Fen­nell

Where Orlando - - Contents - BY JUSTIN BRAUN

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.

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