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Topic: $400m upgrade for MCO

  1. #1
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    Exclamation $400m upgrade for MCO

    Here's a good story from today's Sentinel which we hadn't heard anything about before. Orlando International Airport is about toi embark on a $400m upgrade for the airport in order to keep capacity at a manageable level until 2015 (when a major new terminal is planned). Here's what they say:

    Jason Garcia | Sentinel Staff Writer

    Orlando International Airport is about to embark on a nearly $400 million construction plan designed to squeeze an extra five years of life from its main terminal.

    Planners say the sweeping overhaul -- which will include pushing the third-level ticket counters back 12 feet, replacing 18 luggage-claim stations and installing new self-service machines alongside the curbs and the counters -- would allow the airport to put off the far more expensive construction of a second terminal until at least 2015.

    The board of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, which oversees OIA, voted Wednesday to spend an initial $5 million to engineer the initial changes and to begin soliciting bids from contractors who want a piece of the work.

    Airport officials say OIA's main terminal can currently handle a maximum of 40 million passengers a year -- a level they expect to reach as early as 2010. The changes, however, would boost the terminal's capacity to 45 million.

    Wringing more life out of the existing terminal is crucial. With commercial airlines facing a likely slump amid record fuel prices and slowing passenger demand, airport executives want to wait as long as possible before launching construction of a south terminal, which is likely to carry a multibillion-dollar price tag.

    OIA officials are also in the midst of negotiating a new wave of leases with their major airlines. The airlines do not want the new agreements, likely to last five years, to include the higher fees and rents that it would take to finance a new terminal. "It's a tough sell," airport Executive Director Steve Gardner said. "Eventually you've got to do it. But it's a big hit."

    But improvements to the existing terminal won't come cheap, either. The total package is expected to cost $381.6 million, including:

    *$123 million in the ticketing lobby. In addition to pushing walls farther back and installing more self-service machines, the plans call for boosting counter positions from 319 to 400, creating more shared counter space among multiple airlines, new entrances and more.

    *$90.4 million to improve baggage-claim and baggage-handling systems. This would cover installing baggage carousels; replacing older conveyor belts with newer, wider ones; and replacing sorting equipment.

    *$102.6 million on rental-car improvements, including new and expanded "quick-turn areas" for companies to process returned cars, and relocated taxi and bus lots.

    *$42.2 million for roads and parking. This work would cover a second "through lane" for traffic along the terminal entrances and the building of a second cell-phone waiting lot, this one on the north side of the airport.

    *$23.4 million for parking, which would include expanding the "blue" satellite lot by 3,000 spaces and adding overflow parking.

    Airport officials said the pricey construction plans will likely require OIA to borrow more than $300 million through the sale of bonds. Taking on the extra debt was enough to give at least one board member pause.

    "Any other way to finance it?" board member Tony Rey asked. Staffers said they simply couldn't generate enough cash to pay for the improvements in lump sums.

    Rey ultimately joined the rest of the board in supporting the plans. "I'm always cautious," he said, "but I understand you have to borrow money in order to make money and leverage it."

  2. #2
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    sounds very good simon but does this mean that when the work starts there will be absolute chaos at mco. like at heathrow t3 when i flew from there to miami innovember the terminal looked like a building site people not knowing where they were going. when does the work start?

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    As airports go this is one of the nicest ones around I think but appreciate they have to keep upgrading.

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    Good questions, martin1; Don't know the answers just yet but it's something we can chase up next week.

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    Has anyone ever been to an airport that is 'finished'?

    I can think of two, Galway in Ireland and Dundee in Scotland. There was no building work at either last time I was there. Other than those two I think every other airport I've been to (about 30) has had some work going on. :eek:
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  6. #6
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    Good point, spencem. I can't remember the last airport we went through that wasn't doing updates of some kind.

    Just went through MCO last night and they were cutting down all the old Arrival/Departure monitors with one of those torch things that makes a lot of sparks. A huge amount of work going on, but it should be much nicer when they're done.

    We also saw a new luggage carousel going in across from the Alamo car hire desk. Interesting.....











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