Orlando International Airport
|Orlando International Airport|
|IATA: MCO – ICAO: KMCO – FAA LID: MCO
– WMO: 72205
|Owner/Operator||Greater Orlando Aviation Authority|
|Serves||Orlando, Florida, US|
|Focus city for|
|Elevation AMSL||96 ft / 29 m|
FAA airport diagram
Orlando International Airport (IATA: MCO, ICAO: KMCO, FAA LID: MCO) is an international airport 6 miles southeast of Orlando, Florida. It is the second-busiest airport in the state of Florida  the 13th-busiest airport in the United States and the 29th-busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic.
The airport is a focus city for Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways. Southwest is the airport's largest carrier by passengers carried. The airport also is a major international gateway for the mid Florida region, with flights by foreign air carriers.
In terms of commercial airline service, 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).
- 1 History
- 2 Terminals and Concourses
- 3 Airlines and destinations
- 4 Statistics
- 5 Airline lounges
- 6 Terminal expansions and renovations
- 7 Incidents and accidents
- 8 Transportation
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
See also: McCoy Air Force Base
Military operations began in 1942 as Orlando Army Air Field #2, an auxiliary airfield to Orlando Army Air Base which is now known as Orlando Executive Airport. Army Air Field #2 was renamed Pinecastle Army Airfield in January 1943. At the end of World War II, 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 as a Strategic Air Command (SAC) facility for B-47 Stratojets and KC-97 Stratofreighters and 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 was 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 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 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.
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.
In the early 1960s, when jet airline flights came to Orlando, the installation became a joint civil-military facility.
Early jetliners such as the Boeing 707, Boeing 720, Douglas DC-8 and Convair 880 required longer and sturdier runways than the ones at Herndon Airport (now Orlando Executive 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 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 field for conversion into a civil air terminal. The city would then cover the cost of building a replacement missile maintenance hangar on the main base's western flight line. The new civil 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.
Airline flights to the Orlando Jetport began shortly after an agreement was signed by the city and USAF in October 1961. Over the next few years airline flights shifted from the old Herndon Airport (renamed in 1982 as the Orlando Executive Airport (IATA: ORL, ICAO: KORL, FAA LID: ORL)). In 1971 scheduled airlines were Delta Air Lines, Eastern Air Lines, National Airlines and Southern Airways.
When McCoy AFB closed in 1974/1975, part of the facility stayed under military control to support Naval Training Center Orlando.
There are only a few enclaves in the area that the military still uses such as The 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade from the Florida Army National Guard, The 1st Lt. David R. Wilson Armed Forces Reserve Center and a Navy Exchange PX.
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 54 square kilometres (21 sq mi) and is the third-largest airport in the United States by area (after Denver which covers 136 square kilometres (53 sq mi) of land area, and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport) which covers 84 square kilometres (32 sq mi). MCO 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, Runway 18L/36R and Runway 18R/36L, were designed for 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 began on March 27, 2011, but service to Miami has since ended. In recent years, Delta Airlines has increased its service at Orlando to many places around the US, but also seasonal service to Cancun, Mexico.
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 to test revenue at the higher cost airport. After evaluating the routes out of Orlando,[when?] 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, passenger preference for Orlando Sanford International Airport, higher costs at MCO than expected and a more efficient operating environment at SFB. However, they continue to operate one flight a week from MCO on Fridays usind the MD-83 aircraft.
Terminals and Concourses
The Orlando International Airport has 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.
Major domestic carriers based in Terminal A include Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Virgin America, and American Airlines. Major international carriers include Virgin Atlantic, Aeromexico, Avianca, Copa Airlines, TAM Airlines, and Aer Lingus.
- Gates 1–17 and 20–28
- Secondary International Arrivals Concourse
- Part of original terminal, Opened in 1981
- JetBlue Airways hub concourse
- Gates 101–129
- Southwest Airlines hub concourse
Major domestic carriers based in Terminal B include Delta Air Lines, US Airways, and United Airlines. Major international carriers include British Airways, Air Canada and Lufthansa which primarily operate out of Airside 4, the airport's main international arrivals concourse.
Delta Air Lines was the first airline with jet flights 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 'widebody' flights to MCO, National with the DC-10-10 and −30 and Delta and Eastern Airlines with the L-1011.
Virgin Atlantic's Boeing 747 is currently the largest airliner at the airport. The airline has multiple daily flights from the UK. During peak seasons, up to five Virgin 747s may be at Orlando's gates at once. British Airways competes with Virgin to London Gatwick with ten Boeing 777s a week.
Lufthansa opened a shared gate in Orlando on October 30, 2007, providing the first direct flight between Orlando and a hub in continental Europe (in this case, Frankfurt, Germany) as part of an effort to diversify the local economy beyond tourism. As of late October 2009, Lufthansa expanded its five flights a week to daily between MCO and Frankfurt on Airbus A330s and Airbus A340s, with connections throughout Europe, expanding to a Boeing 747 in the winter.
British charter airline Thomas Cook Airlines is to move its Orlando flights from Sanford Airport where they and predecessors Airtours Intl/MyTravel, and JMC Air have operated since it opened. Flights will commence April 2014.
OIA versus MCO
Since the renaming of the former McCoy Air Force Base and the adjacent Orlando Jetport at McCoy as Orlando International Airport in 1976, there has been a propensity in local Central Florida news media outlets (to include their weather reporting services) and other entities in Central Florida outside of the professional aviation community to refer to the airport as "OIA" versus the airport's actual airport code of "MCO" in either reporting or reference. However, such use is incorrect, as the airport code OIA is actually assigned to Ourilandia Airport in Ourilandia, Brazil.
Airlines and destinations
All International flights arrive at Airside 1, 3 or 4.
|1||Atlanta, GA||1,237,000||Delta, Southwest|
|2||New York, NY (JFK)||692,000||American, Delta, JetBlue|
|3||Newark, NJ||671,000||JetBlue, United|
|4||Philadelphia, PA||627,000||Southwest, US Airways|
|5||Dallas/Fort Worth, TX||556,000||American, Spirit|
|6||Charlotte, NC||542,000||Southwest, US Airways|
|7||Detroit, MI||513,000||Delta, Spirit|
|8||Chicago, IL (O'Hare)||500,000||American, Spirit, United|
|10||New York, NY (LGA)||438,000||Delta, JetBlue|
Orlando International Airport was the 14th largest international gateway in the United States and second largest in Florida (behind Miami International Airport) for the year ending June 2013. The airport handled 3,694,774 arrivals on international flights during that period, of which 82.9% were carried by a foreign airline and 17.1% by a domestic airline.
|1||Virgin Atlantic Airways||809,171||0.13%||London–Gatwick, Manchester (UK)
|2||Air Canada||501,101||5.5%||Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Halifax, Ottawa
|3||Copa Airlines||341,160||10.3%||Panama City|
Seasonal: Edmonton, Moncton, Halifax, Hamilton (ON), London (ON), Montréal–Trudeau, Ottawa, St. John's, Winnipeg
|5||TAM Airlines||282,412||7.7%||São Paulo–Guarulhos
Seasonal: Rio de Janeiro-Galeão
Seasonal: Guatemala City
|10||Gol Transportes Aéreos||95,148||25.2%||Santo Domingo–Las Américas, São Paulo–Guarulhos|
- 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 were recently completed 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 has relocated the car rental pickup process to the new facilities and has allowed additional space for off-site agencies to relocate to the on-site airport facilities.
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. Fortunately, this extra space will still not go to waste as additional space is being allocated at the future train station for the privately funded, under construction All Aboard Florida higher speed regional rail service, which will connect Orlando International Airport to downtown Miami along the Florida East Coast Railway. It will also be shared with the future Sunrail trains mentioned below.
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 by 2017. As part of the estimated $684 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.
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. The most optimistic proposal would have work commence on an Airport SunRail connection by late 2018.
Incidents and accidents
- 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.
The Orlando International Airport is a major transportation hub for the Central Florida region and provides various ground transportation options including public transit, private transportation, and car rental.
Lynx, the local metro area public transportation system operates a sub-station at the airport with public bus service to Downtown Orlando and other area routes.
Disney's Magical Express
A complimentary motor coach transportation service to all twenty four Walt Disney World resort hotels. The motor coach service is operated by Mears Transportation and is available to Disney guests with advance reservations. An agreement with BAGS Incorporated also provides checked luggage pickup and delivery system for Disney guests utilizing the Disney's Magical Express service, checked luggage are picked up by a representative of BAGS Incorporated and delivered directly to the guest's Walt Disney World resort hotel.
The airport serves as a major inbound gateway for cruise line passengers departing out of Port Canaveral on lines including Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line, SunCruz Casinos, and Sterling Casinos, all operating motorcoach transportation to Port Canaveral, primarily with partnerships with Mears Transportation.
Taxi cab service is available via a taxi stand line on the Ground Transportation level of both terminals, airport licensed cab companies include Star Taxi, Uber, Lyft, United Taxi, and Yellow Cab. Airport shuttle transportation services include Super Shuttle, Mears Transportation, and other private transportation companies.
Helipad and Other
A de facto helipad, referred to by GOAA as a "helistop" in view of its limited facilities, is located on the top level of the terminal top parking garage and is available landing space with proper clearance for private transportation via helicopter. It is often used for transportation of high profile celebrities and business executives to and from the airport.
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 March 15, 2007
- "ACI passenger figures in 2007". Airports Council International. August 1, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- "Great Circle Mapper: MCO / KMCO – Orlando, Florida". Karl L. Swartz. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- Clarke, Sara K. (March 19, 2010). "Orlando International Airport Slips to 13th Nationally, 26th Worldwide". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- "2011 North American (ACI-NA) Top 50 airports". Airports Council International. October 18, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- The Quick Ref OAGs for 1 Nov and 15 Nov show a couple of Delta 880s at ORL, with no mention of MCO, but that's presumably a mistake. The 1 Dec shows them at MCO.
- "Orlando's $250 Million Airport Giant-Size People Movers". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 1980-01-20. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- Pike, John (July 21, 2011). "Space Shuttle Emergency Landing Sites". Global Security. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- "JetBlue Plans New Focus City at Orlando International Airport" (Press release). JetBlue Airways. March 19, 2008. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- Kassab, Beth (May 26, 2006). "Original Orlando Terminal Reduced To Rubble". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved June 26, 2009.
- "Aviation List". KBJ Architects. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
- Hanuschak, Blair; Moe, Don (February 2, 2002). "Spanning the Sky". Modern Steel Construction. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
- "Orlando International Airport Airsides 1 & 3 Expansion". C.T. Hsu + Associates. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
- Maxon, Terry (September 20, 2007). "Slots fort Heathrow". Airline Biz. Archived from the original on November 11, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- Garcia, Jason (October 29, 2007). "Area Hopes for Image Upgrade in Lufthansa's New Direct Flights". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- "Orlando, FL: Orlando International (MCO)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved Oct 26, 2014.
- "U.S. International Air Passenger and Freight Statistics: June 2013" (PDF). dot.gov. U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs. October 2013. p. 36. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- "Orlando International Airport Studying Plans To Add Train Station and an Eventual New Terminal". The Florida News Journal. June 26, 2012. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- "Florida High Speed Rail Industry Forum". Florida High Speed Rail. December 2, 2009. Archived from the original on March 27, 2010. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- "McCoy AFB SAC 306 Bomb Wingfire Dept". Strategic Air Command. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- "Orlando Plane Crash". Vanderbilt Television News Archive. March 31, 1972. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- "Factual Aviation Report". National Transportation Safety Board. Archived from the original on August 6, 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Orlando International Airport.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Orlando International Airport.|
- Official website
- (PDF), effective January 8, 2015
- Resources for this airport: