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1/5/2012 - Orlando International Airport Reflects on 2011 and Looks to 2012


ORLANDO, FL – Orlando International Airport’s (MCO) popularity as a global gateway to Central Florida was never more evident than in 2011. Highlights from the past year included visits by the rescued Chilean miners, a visit by top U.S. officials to recognize Orlando International as a Model Port for improving the international travel experience, a multi-event celebration marking the 30th anniversary of the airport’s main terminal building and the expectation that MCO will surpass the 35 million passenger mark for the third time in the airport’s history.

“Orlando International Airport can take pride in looking back over a year of accomplishments, while we look ahead in 2012 to continuing our record of achievement. Maintaining our status as a world-class aviation facility will require us to deal with many challenges, including rising fuel prices, uncertain consumer confidence, airline mergers and alliances and customer service expectations. To be successful, we will need to strive for the highest level of service for the traveling public, which we refer to as the “Orlando Experience”, said Phil Brown, Executive Director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA).

Traffic Activity

As one of the nation’s top origin and destination airports, MCO is projecting to finish the 2011 calendar year with an estimated total traffic number of more than 35 million passengers. That would represent an approximate 2 percent increase over the airport’s 2010 total of 34,877,899 passengers.

Orlando International is also projecting to close out 2011 with a record amount of international traffic, once final numbers have been calculated. Thanks to the addition of new carriers Air France, Avianca, Caribbean Airlines, Gulfstream Airlines and VivaAerobus, along with additional routes added by airlines already serving MCO, international travelers are expected to total nearly 3.4 million, which would mark a more than 5 percent increase over 2010’s total. International travel now accounts for nearly 10 percent of MCO’s overall traffic activity.

“Growing our international service for the Central Florida community has been a top priority over the years and we are excited to see some of the benefits of those efforts to the Central Florida community,” Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Board Chairman Cesar E. Calvet said. “The surge in international traffic is expected to generate an estimated $87.4 million in annual economic impact for the region.”

Facility Upgrades

Passenger convenience and improved service were also high on MCO’s priority list in 2011. The airport completed more than 106 construction projects during the fiscal year, with a combined contract amount of almost $31 million. The projects included airfield, terminal, international passenger processing and baggage system improvements.

  • International Arriving Passenger Processing Improvements: This new facility located at Airside 1, provides easier terminal access for arriving international passengers and eases the burden of double baggage handling. To further enhance the arrival experience, artwork entitled “Orlando Springs”, created by Central Florida artist Margaret Tolbert, was included in the new addition. The 460-piece mosaic presents visitors with images representing the different springs that teem beneath the bustling activity of Central Florida. The project gives visitors their first opportunity to experience the beautiful and unique natural places that are Central Florida.
  • Lighting Improvements: Light level upgrades were completed in the Hyatt Atrium, Landside Terminal escalators and stairwell and Employee Parking Lot Canopies and Guard Shack.
  • In-line Baggage Screening System Improvements: The final stages of the multi-year project were completed. The overall baggage handling system includes nearly 10 miles of conveyor belt. The new in-line system represents a bag processing improvement with a total cost of $280 million.

Fiscal Stewardship

Orlando International Airport’s major accomplishment for fiscal year 2011 was maintaining its position as the highest-rated airport in Florida with ratings of Aa3, AA- and A+ from Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s respectively.

GOAA was able to refund all of the outstanding Series 1999A bonds and achieved present value savings of more than $3.1 million.

The GOAA Board approved a budget of $385 million for the 2011-2012 fiscal year that achieved a healthy revenue ratio derived from a diversity of sources.

  • 69 percent from non-airline sources
  • 31 percent from the airlines

Three Decades of Service

A high point of the year was the celebration of a dream that became reality. Orlando International marked its 30th Anniversary with a series of events commemorating the official dedication of its new $300 million facility on October 2, 1981. The events were dedicated to outreach and recognizing the vision and support of the community and relationships with the airport’s business partners.

Special Dedications

A focus of the 30th Anniversary celebration was the acknowledgement of the special contributions of two individuals to Orlando International Airport. The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority renamed Airport Boulevard “Jeff Fuqua Boulevard” in honor of the longest-serving GOAA Board Chairman, Jeff Fuqua.

In memory of former Orlando Mayor Carl Langford, who passed away in 2011, the Aviation Authority boardroom was officially named the “Carl T. Langford Board Room.” Langford is credited with shepherding the city through a remarkable period of growth, which included the vision to buy the land for Orlando International Airport for $1.00 from the U.S. Air Force, leading to the airport becoming the third largest in land mass in the U.S.

Customer Service Improvements

  • Completed replacement of Main Terminal escalators
  • Refurbished all Main Terminal public restrooms
  • Added new spa concessions & retail outlets
  • Rebranded satellite parking. The former Blue Lot was renamed North Park Place and the former Red Lot became South Park Place.
  • Six new parking shuttle buses were added to replace older vehicles. The new 12 & 14-seat capacity buses will help ease boarding, are equipped with automatic wheelchair ramps and flat screen monitors to aid in the delivery of information to customers.
  • Acceptance of SunPass and E-Pass transponders at Terminal A&B third-level entrances to garage parking facilities.
  • Assisted in the implementation of the new CLEAR expedited security screening lane.
  • Grew facebook following to more than 15,000 fans.
  • Translated an abbreviated version of MCO’s website into six languages.
  • Added customer service ambassadors to international arrival terminals to assist international travelers.

Planning for the Future

In 2012, Orlando International Airport will maintain its vision of advancing Orlando and the region as the premier intermodal transportation gateway for global commerce. The coming year will also see the airport continue to strive to achieve its mission of providing safe, secure, customer-friendly, affordable transportation services and facilities that promote the “Orlando Experience.”

Major Projects

  • Work has begun on updating the Master Plan for facilities for the next 5, 10 and 20 years to address infrastructure needs for the future.
  • Updating the strategic plan to refine the airport’s goals and objectives to meet future demand, enhance customer service, maintain and operate world class facilities and foster economic growth.
  • Developing future airline lease and use agreements
  • Continuing marketing visits with airlines to develop additional air service and cargo growth.
  • Continuing to work with local business partners, including Visit Orlando, Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC), regional chambers of commerce & other civic and cultural organizations, to promote the region for economic development.


For more information, contact Carolyn Fennell or Rod Johnson in the Office of Public Affairs at the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority at 407-825-2055.

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