bic

Metro Orlando Airport News

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Had a little info to share about MCO but wasn't quite sure where to put it, so I thought it might be useful to have one thread for all news related to our area airports. Hopefully in the near future we'll be talking more about MCO's South Terminal expansion and the FAA's plans to ease up on the height restrictions. For the time being, I found this bit of information on the HKS Architects web site:

Orlando International Airport

North Terminal Station BP-2010

The North Terminal Station for the South Terminal Connector is a 32,000-square-foot passenger terminal station for an above-grade people mover system connecting the existing terminal building with the future south terminal. The station will serve passengers making connections from one terminal to the other. The project provides a gateway to the new south terminal from the existing north terminal while creating a transitional arrival space from the south terminal.

in association with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

mco1ho7.jpgmco2km6.jpgmco3us0.jpg

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Historically, has a person ever made a connection at OIA? I hope the south terminal can get some decent international routes.

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Touche. I think we'll see more international routes with the debut of the 787 and the growth of Orlando as a business destination but until then it will be tough with the mega hubs of MIA and ATL so close by.

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A little bit more on the North Terminal station from PCL Construction Services, Inc.:

"The North Terminal Station project consists of a three level automated guideway system passenger terminal building of approximately 31,000 square feet. The terminal will be the connection point of the existing North Terminal for access to the new South Terminal. Included in the project scope was renovation to a portion of the existing third and fourth levels. This component was challenging in completing an involved scope while working adjacent to the Hyatt hotel and McCoy's restaurant."

6101026_1_300.jpg

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now correct me if im wrong

but as being such a large tourist destination, isnt airfare to orlando generally very cheap?

and perhaps expanding our international flights, that would help lower cost as we increase traffic

of course this is all just blind speculation, but it seems logical

Id like orlando to take over as the central hub in florida(in terms of air travel)

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now correct me if im wrong

but as being such a large tourist destination, isnt airfare to orlando generally very cheap?

and perhaps expanding our international flights, that would help lower cost as we increase traffic

of course this is all just blind speculation, but it seems logical

Id like orlando to take over as the central hub in florida(in terms of air travel)

The problem with adding international flights is that as much as the airport administration lobbies for them, it's still up to the airlines to start them up. Orlando has several factors working against it, including but not limited to:

-Lack of a hub for a legacy carrier (i.e. Delta, American, Continental, United, etc.). The American cities with lots of long-haul international routes are mostly the ones that are major hubs for these major airlines-- places like Miami, Atlanta, DC, Philadelphia, New York/Newark, Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, Dallas, Houston, Denver, L.A., San Francisco, and Salt Lake City. You'd be hard-pressed to find many transatlantic/pacific routes from cities outside of those listed above. The exceptions are places like Seattle and Boston which have fantastic strategic locations at the corners of our map and draw a lot of business travelers thanks to their huge tech industries and Fortune 500 companies. Then there are cities with significant hubs but few international flights like Phoenix (Southwest, AmericaWest/USAir) and Charlotte (USAir).

-With Delta downsizing its operations here, Orlando is almost in the same boat as cities like St. Louis and Pittsburgh, which both took major hits when their respective airline hubs were dismantled-- St. Louis' TWA being gobbled up by American and Pittsburgh's USAir shifting their focus away from PIT. Our greatest chance for landing some transatlantic/South American routes is by having an airline with a significant presence at MCO. Southwest, Airtran, and Jetblue don't really count in this case because their business plans revolve around domestic routes (with a couple of Caribbean destination exceptions). Their fleets also consist of planes with limited range (A320's, EMB190's, 717's, and 737's) so they don't even have the hardware to pull off non-stop long-haul flights from MCO.

-Orlando is not much of a business traveler city. Now don't get me wrong, we definitely draw a lot of convention traffic. We just aren't home to a lot of major companies that require a lot of business travel between Orlando and overseas cities. We're not a big finance city, don't have a monstrous technology industry (compared to the Bay Area, New York, Boston, Seattle, etc.), we're not into oil like Houston, not an automotive hub like Detroit, not the capital of our country, not a major consulting city...yadda yadda yadda. Those industries have strong commercial ties to places in East Asia and Europe, which we severely lack. Airlines like business travelers because they are not as concerned with ticket prices, their companies usually put them up in First or Business Class, and although they may be fickle, they are more likely to remain loyal to an airline that provides a enjoyable experience.

-What we do--and do very well--is attract leisure travelers, and unfortunately, that is another one of our downfalls. As far as the airline industry is concerned, leisure travelers are cheap. They typically fly coach and are more concerned with fare prices than the product quality, brand loyalty, frequent flyer perks, lounges, and such than their business traveler counterparts. Afterall, when a family of 5 is about to spend $75 a head on tickets per day, hotels, rental cars, and food for 7 days, they tend to pinch pennies when it comes to flying and don't fly First or Business Class. Leisure travelers also like to use frequent flyer miles to book their vacation tickets, which is another thing airlines would prefer they not do. Obviously this puts people in the seats for free instead of filling the seats with paying customers. Yes, the airlines limit the amount of reward seats available on each plane, but the less that are used, the better.

-Our geographic location is not great. Being on the east coast, we're almost out of range for non-stop flights to East Asia with the A346 and 773ER being about the only planes that could handle it. Very few carriers even operate those planes at the moment. We're much nearer to the equator than northern cities like New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, etc., which means planes coming from Europe have to travel quite a bit further to reach us despite being at a reasonable longitude, thanks to the curvature of the earth. For example, it is much easier for an airline to fly from Europe to the Northeast and then have passengers continue to other locales in the Americas from there than to fly from Europe to Florida and have connecting passengers backtrack to cities up north. Virgin Atlantic serves us well but that's because of the great UK-Orlando leisure connection that we have. Then you have Africa, except that hardly anybody flies non-stop to Africa from the U.S. so that's pretty much out of the question. The same is true for the Middle East, Central Asia, and Australia. Finally, we have Central and South America. We're actually in a great geographic location for international routes to places south of us and we already do quite well at serving Caribbean destinations. The only problem is that our friendly neighbor down the road, Miami, already has Latin America covered. I do see expansion to major cities in South America coming online in the future, especially with Orlando's burgeoning Hispanic community.

-We're extremely close to two major international hubs in Miami and Atlanta. Miami essentially being the gateway to the Americas, it connects all places north of it to the Central and South America. The same is true of Atlanta but it also has a larger number of flights to Europe and just so happens to be the second busiest airport in the world (Chicago). These two cities are the primary reason why Orlando doesn't receive more international traffic than it does.

-Orlando just isn't a huge city. Yes, we're 2 million strong and growing at a frantic rate, but that's not a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. There are 27 other cities in the U.S. with a larger metropolitan population. It's still less than half the size of Miami or Atlanta. Even if the airlines didn't consider the types of economies in each city, types of passengers, or location, they would select to send their planes to Miami or Atlanta just because they are larger markets.

-Orlando is just about as big of an origin and destination city as you can get. This means that people tend to NOT use MCO to connect to other destinations. This is the result of being a huge vacation destination and not being a major international airline hub. So while we are one of the busier airports in the world, it is mostly thanks to having the greatest number of non-stop domestic routes in the U.S. We bring in tons of passengers from all sorts of podunk towns in the U.S., but aside from the UK and Germany, we don't have a huge fanbase in the rest of Europe.

Now for Orlando's advantages:

-The introduction of the 787 should really help to open up the world and pair lower yield cities that were previously too far from each other to warrant a direct link. Perhaps down the road we might see 787's bringing people non-stop from Tokyo, Sydney, Dubai, and the like.

-Miami and Atlanta are much older airports that are quickly running out of room to expand. They have matured as airports and are extremely expensive for airlines to operate in. Fortunately, MCO has more than enough room to expand and has plans for a new international terminal as well as dozens of additional gates and new facilities. While landing fees certainly are not cheap here, I do believe they're better than at ATL and MIA.

-Orlando is growing at a very fast pace, as is the diversity of its economy. Greater population + more business travelers + more leisure travelers = More demand for international service.

bic's Predictions:

I don't see a whole lot changing in the very near term, but in a couple of years I wouldn't be surprised to see non-stop routes to Paris (Air France), Milan (Alitalia), Madrid (Iberia), additional service to Amsterdam (KLM/Northwest), Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and the Caribbean.

Bleh..I could go on for much longer on this subject but I'm tired of typing. Here's MCO's international route map for a visual aid:

intl.jpg

Edited by bic

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i think bic just closed this thread. wow!!

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fantastic reply bic

but what specifically do you think this new terminal will/could do for us

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Damn bic, you killed it on that one.

Please correct me if I'm wrong but, my understanding was that the South Terminal project was on line to be built and had progressed into some pretty deep planning prior to 9/11. Since then our travel numbers have bounced back and I believe are now stronger than they were when the original plans were alive. So where do we really stand? I try to fly out of Herndon as much as possible for work, and I take very little personal vacation so I only see OIA in action about a half dozen times a year. Each time the existing facility seems to be handling its traffic just fine. Is a new terminal really necessary? We will not legitamately ever become a business hub to anywhere due to our location, and as you pointed out bic, connection to South America is handled by MIA. It has been noted that the only major benefit of OIA is its ability to increase runway size and length to accomodate the larger fleet of aircraft coming into service, but who does that really benefit? Until someone decides to start flying to Asia and the vicinity via a route crossing the South Pole (sarcasm) it seems somewhat of a mute point. I'm rambling, but would love to know your thoughts bic, or anyone for that matter.

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Awesome analysis. I think that separating ourselves from MIA regarding landing/gate fees would be step one and then the foreign carriers could get started (TAM, Iberia, KLM, etc...). Since we serve more domestic markets than anyone, I've always been confused about why that would not work greatly in our favor for more international routes. Those passengers could connect easily to other US cities. I agree that not being a hub or even mini-hub does create an issue but large US carriers have operated international flights from Orlando before (AA to Sao Paulo, Delta to MEX). We are certainly more likely to get foreign carriers before large US carriers though. I agree with your future South American routes except for Rio. There are only three US flights to Rio per day and that is because AA just added one. Sao Paulo gets nearly all international flights down there and Rio's airport has become an underutilized financial joke. Their proximity to Sao Paulo and their leisure market status is quite similar to Orlando. Of course, Orlando does not have 12 million people.

Also, Vegas is a great comparison to MCO in many ways. They are doing huge numbers but nothing or almost nothing international. Of course, they are an over-capacity mess whereas Orlando operates a much nicer airport.

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The problem with adding international flights is that as much as the airport administration lobbies for them, it's still up to the airlines to start them up. Orlando has several factors working against it, including but not limited to:

It's not much, but of course there is OSA as well, I flew to Glasgow this summer on FlyGlobeSpan. They fly scheduled routes to Glasgow and ...either Dublin or Belfast. Plus there is IcelandAir over there too, I guess they just fly to Reykjavik.

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Please correct me if I'm wrong but, my understanding was that the South Terminal project was on line to be built and had progressed into some pretty deep planning prior to 9/11. Since then our travel numbers have bounced back and I believe are now stronger than they were when the original plans were alive. So where do we really stand?

Yep, the South Terminal's site preparation actually began in March of 1999 and construction of the terminal should have finished a couple of years ago. I believe the plan now is to move ahead with the South Terminal once traffic at MCO hits 40 million passengers per year. The airport saw 34.1 million passengers in 2005 and so far through 2006 each month has seen increases of about 3-4% over last year's count. Here's a chart showing MCO's growth projections:

forecast.gif

It should only take a few more years before we see the new terminal come to fruition. Until then, there is still the potential expansion of Airside 2, which would complete the build out of the north terminal complex.

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Not long ago, MCO used to serve Paris, Frankfurt, and Gatwick by Delta; Tel Aviv by El Al; Buenos Aires by Aerolineas Argentinas; Santiago, Chile; Caracas, Venezuela; Guatemala; Keflavik, Iceland; San Jose, Costa Rica; Cancun; Brasilia; Rio de Janeiro; Vienna; Zurich; Quito, Ecuador; Moscow; and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. I'm sure there are others I've missed. We'll get some of those routes back...it's just a matter of time.

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Delta used to fly non-stop from Orlando to Paris-Orly, Frankfurt, and Mexico City [they never served LGW to my memory] and they were about to open a large Central and South American hub here [they announced something like 10 cities to start].

Frankfurt was the last of those routes to die because Delta managed to make some money with contracts from Martin-Marietta to shuttle a lot of their people back-and-forth.

Delta inherited their MCO-Europe routes with their acquisition of Pan Am but they were unable to make them profitable because they had no intra-European network to feed the international flights as did Pan Am before them.

Delta killed the CA/SA hub plans when new management took over and refocused DL

Edited by Camillo Sitte

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Delta used to fly non-stop from Orlando to Paris-Orly, Frankfurt, and Mexico City [they never served LGW to my memory] and they were about to open a large Central and South American hub here [they announced something like 10 cities to start].

Frankfurt was the last of those routes to die because Delta managed to make some money with contracts from Martin-Marietta to shuttle a lot of their people back-and-forth.

Delta inherited their MCO-Europe routes with their acquisition of Pan Am but they were unable to make them profitable because they had no intra-European network to feed the international flights as did Pan Am before them.

Delta killed the CA/SA hub plans when new management took over and refocused DL

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I've spoken with the guy (very specific) at GOAA who told me that the next focus is to renovate Airsides 1 and 3 (the oldest two airsides, in case I numbered them wrong). He also told me the South Terminal Connector was built when it was b/c the $$$ was alotted at that time; i.e., they couldn't really delay it to coincide with the new terminal's construction.

As for business development, Port Canaveral is growing fast-- cruise and cargo; there's a new auto shipping company from Korea opening up shop there. Also, the new fuel farm w/ 50 mile pipeline to OIA project. Correlation? Don't know, other than the fact that when these industries grow even more, the need for intl. traffic also grows.

As for Delta, I was also told that other airlines leased the gates they closed last year to help make up the difference.

Bic and Camillo, BRAVO with your posts! wow!

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$200M-plus transportation hub plan in wings at OIA

Airport wants dedicated intermodal center in place by 2010.

Travelers gather in front of Orlando International Airport

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$200M-plus transportation hub plan in wings at OIA

Airport wants dedicated intermodal center in place by 2010.

Travelers gather in front of Orlando International Airport

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AirTran adds Orlando to San Diego service

AirTran Airways has announced it will start service June 29 between Orlando International Airport and San Diego, bringing the total of nonstop destinations the low-fare carrier offers from Orlando to 30.

The new service will operate Friday and Sunday. It will leave Orlando at 7:35 p.m. and arrive in San Diego at 9:35 p.m. It will leave San Diego at 10:25 p.m. and arrive in Orlando at 6 a.m. All flight times are local.

With the recently announced service to Portland, Maine, AirTran will offer 382 weekly departures to the 30 destinations from Orlando.

AirTran Airways is a subsidiary of Orlando-based AirTran Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AAI) and operates overall more than 700 daily flights to 56 destinations.

Orlando Business Journal

________________________________________________________________

This is interesting because prior to this announcement, I believe that Orlando-San Diego was the largest city pair in the U.S. to not have direct service. I'm not a huge AirTran fan but props to them for filling that niche.

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I bet the new service to SD has something to do with the Burnham deal (isn't that where lajolla is?)

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I bet the new service to SD has something to do with the Burnham deal (isn't that where lajolla is?)

Yep. Beautiful area, too.

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