Airport gives OK for south terminal project to take off
Orlando International Airport’s board members unanimously gave the green light to build a $1.8 billion south terminal. The approval begins the process to put together a team that will design and build a future 16-24 gate south terminal by 2019. The airport’s goal is to be ready to handle the growing number of passengers that visit Orlando each year. The airport already welcomes more than 36 million passengers a year and any delay on keeping the facilities up to par can be detrimental to the overall tourism and business travel industry.
“This airport is a huge part of our economic engine, and if we don’t have an airport to meet [visitation] demand, we will have failed our community,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who also sits on the board. Airport Executive Director Phil Brown tried to share some concerns from some of the airport’s major carriers like Southwest Airlines. For example, the carriers are concerned the plan is not needed and that passenger growth may be too sensitive and cyclical, indicating a new terminal may not be needed.
However, board members seemed to have already been convinced of the need for the new terminal and cut that segment of the presentation short and moved for the vote. The airport will now be working on a new automated people mover system, a new intermodal station for rail and the new south terminal.