OIA cuts airline fees to draw more nonstop flights to Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. — For regular flyers like Juanita Horton, a lot of the time there is one criteria that makes a bigger difference than all the rest.

“I’m looking for, first of all, nonstop (flights),” she said.

To encourage more airlines to fly into and out of Orlando International Airport, officials have decided to cut the fees charged to land and park at the gate.

With more than 43 million flyers each year, OIA has a large number of passengers to spread the fees across, making it easier to lower the rates charged to airlines, officials said.

“Our business model’s pretty simple, we’d like to get more traffic,” OIA Executive Director Phil Brown said.

More direct flights will help make that happen, and Horton said that makes things much more convenient for passengers.

“If you’re going someplace, like to the Caribbean, small islands, where there’s only ‘X’ number of flights, if you miss your connection, your connecting flight, you may possibly have to leave the next day,” she said.

Keeping existing customers is harder than attracting new ones, so that is one of the priorities at OIA, Brown said.

“It’s much easier to get a recurring customer than it is to get a new customer, so we want to keep those opportunities going,” he said.

Brown hopes the airport’s move will create new transcontinental routes to places like San Jose and Oakland, and international service to places like Belo Horizonte.

That is in addition to recently added routes to Cologne and Dusseldorf, he said.

There was no timetable established as to when the new flights might start, Brown said.