Orlando International Airport
|Orlando International Airport|
|Aerial view of MCO, January 6, 1999|
|IATA: MCO – ICAO: KMCO – FAA LID: MCO|
|Owner/Operator||Greater Orlando Aviation Authority|
|Serves||Orlando, Florida, USA|
|Focus city for|
|Elevation AMSL||96 ft / 29 m|
|FAA airport diagram|
|Aircraft operations||391,745 (2,006)|
|Source: Aircraft operations: Federal Aviation Administration
Passengers: Airports Council International
Orlando International Airport (IATA: MCO, ICAO: KMCO, FAA LID: MCO) is a major international airport located 6 mi (9.7 km) southeast of the central business district of Orlando. It is the second-busiest airport in Florida, after Miami International Airport. It is the 13th-busiest airport in the United States and the 29th-busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic.
The airport serves as a focus city for Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways. Southwest is currently the airport's largest carrier in terms of passengers traveled; in 2006, SWA carried one-fifth of MCO's passenger traffic.
The airport code MCO stands for the airport's former name, McCoy Air Force Base, a Strategic Air Command (SAC) installation. Because MCO is the largest major airport near Disney World, its code is sometimes jokingly described as "Mickey's Corporate Office."
The Greater Orlando area is also served by Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), and more indirectly by Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB), Melbourne International Airport (MLB), and Tampa International Airport (TPA).
The airport began during World War II as Pinecastle Army Airfield, an auxiliary airfield to Orlando Army Air Base, now known as Orlando Executive Airport. At the end of the war, Pinecastle was briefly used for unpowered glide tests of the Bell X-1 from B-29 aircraft before the program moved to Muroc Army Airfield in California — now Edwards AFB — for the world's first supersonic flight. Briefly placed in caretaker status, the base was reactivated during the Korean War for use as a Strategic Air Command (SAC) facility for B-47 Stratojet and KC-97 Stratotanker aircraft. As an Air Force facility, it was renamed Pinecastle AFB.
In the 1950s, the base began hosting SAC's annual Bombing and Navigation Competition. A B-47 Stratojet crashed during the 1958 competition, killing Colonel Michael Norman Wright McCoy, commander of the 321st Bombardment Wing. The following year, the base was renamed for McCoy. The base later became home to the 306th Bombardment Wing operating the B-52 Stratofortress and the KC-135 Stratotanker. It was also used by EC-121 Warning Star airborne early warning aircraft.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, McCoy AFB became a forward operating base for more than 120 F-100 Super Sabre and F-105 Thunderchief fighter bombers and the primary such base for U-2 reconnaissance aircraft flying over Cuba. One of these U-2s was shot down by Soviet-operated SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air missiles near Banes, Cuba. Its pilot, Major Rudolf Anderson, Jr., USAF, was the crisis' only combat death. Following the crisis, McCoy AFB hosted a permanent U-2 operating detachment of the 100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing until 1973.
In the early 1960s, when commercial jet airline service came to Orlando, the installation became a joint civil-military facility.
First-generation commercial jetliners such as the Boeing 707, Boeing 720, Douglas DC-8 and Convair 880 required longer and sturdier runways than the ones at Orlando Municipal Airport (now Herndon Airport). Nearby lakes and commercial and residential development made expansion impractical, so an agreement was reached between the city of Orlando and the U.S. Air Force in 1962 to use McCoy AFB under a joint civil-military airport arrangement. The military offered a large AGM-28 Hound Dog missile maintenance hangar and its associated flight line ramp area in the northeast corner of the installation for conversion into a civilian air terminal for the city. The city would then cover the cost of building a replacement missile maintenance hangar on the main base's western flight line. Once executed, the new civilian facility would be known as the Orlando Jetport at McCoy and would operate alongside McCoy AFB. This agreement became a model for other joint civil-military airports in operation today.
Commercial airline service to the new Orlando Jetport at McCoy began in late 1961 or early 1962, per the city and USAF agreement; over the next few years commercial flights shifted from the old Herndon Airport, now the Orlando Executive Airport (IATA: ORL, ICAO: KORL, FAA LID: ORL). By 1971, regular scheduled airline operations were conducted by Delta Air Lines, and the former Eastern Air Lines, National Airlines and Southern Airways.
McCoy AFB was identified for closure in early 1973 as part of a post-Vietnam reduction in force. The following year, McCoy's 306th Bombardment Wing was inactivated, its B-52D Stratofortress and KC-135A Stratotanker aircraft reassigned to other SAC units and most of the McCoy facility turned over to the city of Orlando by the General Services Administration (GSA) in late 1974 and early 1975. A portion of the facility was retained under military control to support Naval Training Center Orlando and several Reserve and National Guard units.
In 1975, the final Air Force contingent departed McCoy and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) was established as a state-chartered governmental agency and an enterprise fund of the city of Orlando. GOAA's mission was to operate, manage and oversee construction of expansions and improvements to both the Orlando International Airport and the Orlando Executive Airport. The airport gained its current name and international airport status a year later in 1976, but retained its old IATA airport code MCO and ICAO airport code KMCO.
The airport became a U.S. Customs Service Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) in 1978, said zone being designated as FTZ #42. In 1979, the facility was also designated as a large hub airport by the FAA based on flight operations and passenger traffic.
In 1978, construction of the current Landside Terminal and Airsides 1 and 3 began, opening in 1981. The original International Concourse was housed in Airside 1 and opened in 1984. Funding to commence developing the east side of the airport was bonded in 1986, with Runway 17/35 (now 17R/35L) completed in 1989. Airside 4 opened in 1990 and also contains an International Concourse for the processing of international flights. Airside 2, which filled out what will become known as the North Terminal complex, was completed in 2000, with the last additional gates added in 2006. Runway 17L/35R was opened in 2003, providing the airport with a total of four runways.
In 1978, MCO handled 5 million passengers. By 2000, that number had risen to 30 million. Today, MCO covers 23 square miles (60 km²), and is the third-largest airport in the United States by area (after Denver and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport). MCO also has North America's second tallest control tower, replacing two earlier Air Force and FAA control towers.
MCO was a designated Space Shuttle emergency landing site. The west-side runways, also known as Runway 18L/36R and Runway 18R/36L, were designed to accommodate B-52 Stratofortress bombers and due to their proximity to NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center, were an obvious choice for an emergency landing should an emergency "return to launch site (RTLS) attempt to land at KSC fall short. The runway is also an emergency divert site for NASA's Boeing 747 Shuttle Transport Aircraft when relocating orbiters from either west coast modification work or divert recoveries at Edwards AFB, California or the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
Eastern Air Lines used Orlando as a hub during the 1970s and early 1980s, and became "the official airline of Walt Disney World." Following Eastern's demise, Delta Air Lines assumed this role, although it later pulled much of its large aircraft operations from Orlando, and focused its service there on regional jet flights, specifically with Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Comair and Chautauqua Airlines - all part of the Delta Connection system. All Delta Connection service ended September 30, 2008. However, after the merger with Northwest, Delta Connection service to Grand Rapids started. Delta Connection service to Raleigh/Durham also started and service to Miami is due to commence on March 27, 2011.
In 2004, Hurricane Charley caused minor damage to the airport when it struck on the evening of August 13, mostly in the form of shattered terminal windows. Normal service resumed as soon as the weather cleared.
On February 22, 2005, MCO became the first airport in Florida to accept E-Pass and SunPass toll transponders as a form of payment for parking. The system allows drivers to enter and exit a parking garage without pulling a ticket or stopping to pay the parking fee. The two toll roads that serve the airport, SR 528 (Beachline Expressway) and SR 417 (Central Florida GreeneWay), use these systems for automatic toll collection.
In October 2006, MCO opened a 100-space Cell Phone Parking Lot for drivers to use while waiting for passengers to arrive. The lot is set up as a free Wi-Fi Hotspot, enabling drivers to use their mobile devices to access the Internet, check e-mail, and monitor flight status. Around the same time MCO opened an Express Pickup service at each terminal allowing drivers to park their vehicles temporarily at a secure location just outside of baggage claim and meet their arriving party in person. A fee is charged for this service and is only available to E-Pass and SunPass users.
In late 2007, Lufthansa introduced flights to Frankfurt. The new Orlando–Frankfurt route was celebrated by airport and airline officials as a major breakthrough in International travel for Orlando International.
On March 19, 2008, JetBlue announced Orlando as a new focus city. Orlando serves as a key connecting city to international destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America.
The original terminal building, a converted hangar, was described as inadequate for the task at hand even when it was first opened as Orlando Jetport. After its closure in 1981, it passed through several tenants, the last of which was UPS. It was demolished in May 2006.
On February 1, 2010, Allegiant began operations at the airport. The company moved one half of its Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) schedule to Orlando in order to test revenue streams at the higher cost airport. After evaluating the routes out of Orlando, the carrier decided to consolidate and return its Orlando area operations to SFB citing an inability to achieve a fare premium at MCO as anticipated, a strong passenger preference for Orlando Sanford International Airport, higher costs at MCO than expected and a more efficient operating environment at SFB.
Current structure and function
The Orlando International Airport consists of a hub-and-spoke layout with a large main terminal building and four airside concourses accessible via elevated tram systems or people movers. The main terminal building is divided into two terminals; A and B. There are passenger check-in and baggage claim facilities on both the building's north side (Terminal A), and on the building's south side (Terminal B). Both terminals share two security checkpoints, one in the West Hall leading to Airsides 1 and 3, and another in the East Atrium, leading to Airsides 2 and 4.
Airsides 1 and 3, and later Airside 4, were designed by KBJ Architects, while Airside 3 was designed by Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, Helman Hurley Charvat Peacock Architects, and Rhodes + Brito Architects. C.T. Hsu + Associates and Rhodes + Brito Architects designed renovations that were made to Airsides 1 and 3, which were completed by April 2010.
Airside 4 currently serves as the airport's primary international arrivals concourse, however Airside 1 also handles some international arrivals. Arriving international passengers who require immigration and/or customs clearance are processed through those checkpoints in the airside terminal where they arrive. After clearing U.S. immigration, passengers collect their baggage and clear U.S. customs. After clearing customs, international passengers must ride the people mover to the main terminal. Airside 4 provides escalator access directly from the customs hall to the people mover platform. This has eliminated the requirement for arriving international passengers to go through a security inspection between the customs area and the people mover, and as a result they now have the option of bringing their checked baggage with them on the people mover. Alternatively, passengers also have the option of placing their baggage on a transfer belt in the customs hall for transport to the main terminal's baggage claim. Only those passengers who are connecting to a flight in Airside 4 and airport employees, will need to go through security upon exiting customs.
The airport features a unique on-site Hyatt Regency hotel within the main terminal structure. The hotel is located on the East Atrium side of the terminal with a fourth floor lobby level and guest rooms beginning on level five and above. The airport features an expansive lobby area for guests awaiting flights, convention space, several bars, and two restaurants including a signature restaurant on the top level of the terminal building overlooking the airport facility and runways below.
- Gates 1-17 and 20-28
- Secondary International Arrivals Concourse
- Part of original terminal, Opened in 1981
- JetBlue Airways is main tenant.
- Gates 101-129
- Southwest Airlines is main tenant.
Major carriers based in Terminal B are Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. Major international carriers including Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Aer Lingus and Lufthansa also use the airside. Airside 4 serves as the airport's primary international arrivals concourse.
Delta Air Lines was the first commercial airline to offer 'jet' passenger service to MCO, with their DC-8 'fanjet' 'Royal Service' flights.
Eastern Airlines 'the wings of man', became the first 'official' airline of the Walt Disney World Resort, and sponsored an attraction in their 'Tomorrowland' called: 'If You Had Wings'. Later when Eastern closed Delta took the attraction over, it was called Dream Flight.
In the early 1970s Delta, National, and Eastern Airlines began their 'widebody' 'big jets' 'heavy' services to MCO. National with the DC-10-10 and -30 equipment. Delta (L-1011 'tristar') and Eastern Airlines (L-1011 'whisperjet') with the Lockheed, L-1011 jets.
Virgin Atlantic, with their Boeing 747 service to Orlando, is currently the largest aircraft type operator at the airport. The airline offers multiple daily flights into Orlando from the UK. During peak travel seasons, up to five Virgin 747s may be at Orlando's gates at a single time. British Airways also directly competes with Virgin on the London Gatwick route currently operating ten flights per week on Boeing 777s.
Lufthansa opened a gate in Orlando on October 30, 2007, providing the first direct link between Orlando and a hub in continental Europe (in this case, Frankfurt, Germany) as part of a regional effort to diversify the local economy beyond tourism and meet growing demand for such route. As of late October 2009, Lufthansa expanded its five flights a week to daily flights between MCO and Frankfurt Airport on Airbus A330s and Airbus A340s, providing connections throughout Europe, expanding to a Boeing 747 in the winter.
British charter airline Thomas Cook Airlines are to relocate their Orlando flights from Sanford Airport where they and predecessors Airtours Intl/MyTravel, and JMC Air have operated since it opened. Fights will commence March 2014.
Airlines and destinations
All International flights arrive at either Airside 1, 3 or 4.
|1||Atlanta, Georgia||1,312,000||AirTran, Delta, Southwest|
|2||New York, New York (JFK)||694,000||American, Delta, JetBlue|
|3||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||667,000||AirTran, Southwest, US Airways|
|4||Newark, New Jersey||649,000||JetBlue, United|
|5||Detroit, Michigan||539,000||AirTran, Delta, Southwest, Spirit|
|6||Miami, Florida||501,000||American, Delta|
|7||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||501,000||American, Spirit|
|8||Chicago, IL (O'Hare)||486,000||American, Spirit, United|
|9||Charlotte, NC||470,000||AirTran, US Airways|
|10||Baltimore, Maryland||451,000||AirTran, Southwest|
|1||London (Gatwick), United Kingdom||684,360||British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways|
|2||Toronto (Pearson), Canada||400,543||Air Canada, Air Transat, CanJet Airlines, Sunwing Airlines, WestJet Airlines|
|3||Manchester, United Kingdom||360,450||Virgin Atlantic Airways|
|4||Panama City, Panama||193,206||Copa Airlines|
|6||São Paulo (Guarulhos), Brazil||140,947||TAM Airlines, Whitejets Airways, Gol Air Transport|
|7||Montréal (Trudeau), Canada||130,973||Air Canada, Air Transat, CanJet Airlines, Sunwing Airlines, WestJet Airlines|
|8||Nassau, the Bahamas||129,130||Bahamasair, JetBlue Airways|
|9||Mexico City, Mexico||108,747||Aeroméxico|
|10||Bogotá, Colombia||102,674||Avianca, JetBlue Airways|
- Delta Air Lines' Sky Club—Located in Airside 4 on the 2nd floor of the center atrium
- United Airlines' United Club—Located near Gate 43 in Airside 3
Terminal expansions and renovations
Airsides 1 and 3, the terminals opened in the early 1980s, are currently undergoing major renovations, designed by C.T. Hsu + Associates. The new terminal design will incorporate a new modern architecture and feature new skylights and expanded concession areas. In addition, the terminal will be re-installed with new mechanical and electrical systems. The project was completed in both terminals by 2010. Also, British Airways has announced that they will be opening a 'shared lounge' in Airside 4 sometime around the beginning of 2012.
Rental Car Quick Turnaround Facility
Two state of the art car rental facilities are currently under construction on both the north side Terminal A and south side Terminal B. Select car rental agencies currently operate on-site car rental pickup in the ground level of the main parking garages. The new facilities will relocate the car rental pickup process to the new facility and allow additional space for off-site agencies to relocate to the on-site airport facility.
A fifth terminal has been in the planning, however, plans to build the South Terminal complex, which initially would be dedicated to international traffic, and possibly more runways on the south side of the property, were placed on hold during the recession immediately following the September 11, 2001 attacks. However, the plans are still being considered by airport officials as soon as passenger traffic surpasses current terminal capacities. Airport officials have made it clear they will continue to expand and re-structure the existing terminals to postpone the necessity of having to build the expensive new terminal facility in the immediate future.
The large land area immediately south of the existing main terminal has been designated as the proposed new terminal area. The majority of the land is already cleared.
High Speed Railway Station
As part of the Florida High Speed Rail project, the Orlando International Airport was planned to be the Orlando terminus of the initial Orlando-Tampa route along the Interstate 4 corridor. On February 16, 2011, Florida Governor Rick Scott formally announced that he would be rejecting federal funds to construct a high-speed railway project in the state, thereby killing the Florida High Speed Rail project. The airport had already invested considerably to accommodate the station, such as the extra length of the taxiway bridge over the southern access road.
Light Rail / Commuter Rail Service
A planned light rail and commuter rail stop at Orlando International Airport is currently being studied and if approved, could be completed in 2015. As part of the estimated $250 million price tag for the airport expansion, the airport authority would build a new parking garage south of the current parking garages for Terminals A and B, with the station being located where the cell phone waiting lot currently sits. The airport would also build a monorail or elevated tram system connecting all four "airsides" allowing passengers to transit through them without the need to pass through security again.
Additional space is being allocated at the future train station for the proposed All Aboard Florida regional rail service, which will connect Orlando International Airport to downtown Miami along the Florida East Coast Railway. A future connection to the SunRail commuter rail service is also being explored, although it is presently unknown whether this would involve a direct rail link or a shuttle bus service to and from the nearby Sand Lake Road SunRail station. 
Incidents and mishaps involving MCO
- On January 12, 2005, a Cessna 172 misunderstood ATC instructions and turned from base onto final approach for Runway 36R in front of a Southwest Airlines 737 inbound from New York, which was about 3 miles (4.8 km) out. After failing to contact the 172 pilot (it was later discovered that the 172 radio was not functioning) the controller instructed the Boeing 737 to make a missed approach and come back around to land on 18L. A possible accident was avoided.
- On April 2, 1994, Continental Airlines Flight 1447, a Boeing 727-243, N59412, flying from Newark International Airport to Orlando was unable to extend its left main landing gear. After burning down to minimum fuel, the aircraft executed a partial gear up landing on Runway 18R. None of the 9 person crew or 141 passengers were injured in the mishap. The subsequent National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation revealed fatigue cracking in the left main landing gear door rib attachment fitting, the failure of which prevented the left main landing gear from fully extending.
- On March 31, 1972, a 306th Bombardment Wing B-52D Stratofortress, Air Force Serial Number 56-0625, sustained multiple engine failures and an engine fire shortly after takeoff from McCoy AFB on a routine training mission. The aircraft was not carrying any weapons. The aircraft immediately attempted to return to the base, but crashed just short of Runway 18R in a residential area north of the airfield, destroying or damaging eight homes. The flight crew of 7 airmen and 1 civilian on the ground were killed.
- On October 27, 1962, a 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing U-2 aircraft, Air Force Serial Number 56-6676, piloted by Major Rudolf Anderson, Jr., USAF departed McCoy AFB on a Cuban overflight photo reconnaissance mission during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Major Anderson's aircraft was subsequently engaged by a Soviet-manned SA-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM) site in the vicinity of Banes, Cuba. Hit by two of three missiles fired, the U-2 was shot down over Cuba, killing Major Anderson. A week following the shootdown, Major Anderson's remains were turned over to a United Nations representative and returned to the United States. Major Anderson became the first recipient of the Air Force Cross, the Air Force's second highest decoration for valor after the Medal of Honor, which was awarded to Major Anderson posthumously.
The Orlando International Airport provides various ground transportation options including public transit, private transportation, and car rental.
Lynx, the local metro area public transportation system provides a sub-station at the airport with service to Downtown Orlando and other area routes.
Disney's Magical Express
A complimentary motor coach transportation service for guests staying at Walt Disney World resort hotels. The motor coach service is operated by Mears Transportation. Guests book advance reservations and receive a transportation packet with travel details and luggage tags prior to arrival at Orlando International. Checked luggage marked with the Disney luggage tags are retrieved by representatives of BAGS Incorporated and are transported to the guest's Disney resort.
Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line, SunCruz Casinos, Sterling Casinos and Mears Transportation all run scheduled buses from the airport to Port Canaveral for incoming cruise passengers.
There are various taxis and shuttles that provide service to all local hotels and attractions. Orlando Airport Van, Mears Transportation, and SuperShuttle offer shuttles on a continual basis. Star Taxi, United Taxi, and Yellow Cab offer taxi services that are available on-demand.
The community of The Villages in Sumter, Lake, and Marion has shuttles operating between the community and Orlando International Airport. These services include Village Airport Van, The Villages Transportation, and A-1 Taxi among others.
- McCoy Air Force Base
- Strategic Air Command
- B-52 Memorial Park
- Florida World War II Army Airfields
- Innovation Way
- World's busiest airports by passenger traffic
- FAA Airport Master Record for MCO ( PDF), effective 2007-03-15
- "ACI passenger figures in 2007". Aci.aero. August 1, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- United States. "Great Circle Mapper: MCO / KMCO - Orlando, Florida". Gc.kls2.com. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- "Orlando International Airport slips to 13th nationally, 26th worldwide – Tourism Central Florida – Orlando Sentinel". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- "Airports Council International". Airports.org. October 18, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- Southwest Airlines is MCO's largest carrier [in terms of passenger traffic[dead link]
- Pike, John (July 21, 2011). "Space Shuttle Emergency Landing Sites". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- JetBlue Airways Press Release: New Focus City At Orlando International Airport March 19, 2008
- Original Orlando Terminal Reduced To Rubble on AirportBusiness.com via Orlando Sentinel, written May 29, 2006, posted July 8, 2008, retrieved June 26, 2009
- KBJ.com - Aviation List
- Spanning the Sky Modern Steel Construction February 2002
- C.T. Hsu + Associates - Orlando International Airport Airsides 1 & 3 Expansion
- "Airline Biz Blog | The Dallas Morning News". Aviation.beloblog.com. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- "Area hopes for image upgrade in Lufthansa's new direct flights - Economic Policy, Walt Disney World Resort, Siemens". OrlandoSentinel.com. 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- "Frontier Airlines MCO". Retrieved April 17, 2013.
- "Airline Relocation". OIA. Retrieved October 29, 2012.
- "Virgin America Route Map". Virgin America. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
- "RITA | BTS | Transtats". Transtats.bts.gov. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
- "U.S. International Air Passenger and Freight Statistics Report". 2010. Retrieved 2011-04-16.
- Orlando International Airport Airsides 1 & 3 Expansion - CTHSU.com
- "Squarespace - Claim This Domain". Floridahighspeedrail.org. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- "McCoy AFB SAC 306 Bomb Wingfire Dept". Strategic-air-command.com. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- "Orlando Plane Crash NBC News broadcast from the Vanderbilt Television News Archive". Tvnews.vanderbilt.edu. 1972-03-31. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- . NTSB.
- "U-2 Locations". Blackbirds.net. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Orlando International Airport|
|Wikivoyage has travel information related to: Orlando International Airport|
- Official website
- (PDF), effective May 30, 2013
- Resources for this airport: