• Orlando International Airport improvement plan could cost $2.1 billion


    ORLANDO, Fla. - A capital improvement plan at Orlando International Airport includes $2.1 billion in new infrastructure and upgrades.

    "We can see we need some relief on certain operating components in the airport right now," said OIA Executive Director Phil Brown.

    Some of those components include curb space, which is limited, and ground transportation areas that become jammed at peak times. Rental-car operators also need room to grow.

    "Our real constraint right now is our international gates because it's the fastest-growing element of our traffic," said Brown.

    Nearly 4 million international passengers use OIA each year. Airport leaders would like to add another 16 gates in a separate terminal for both international and domestic passengers.

    The new terminal would be built in a field just south of the main terminal.

    But more than a dozen gates at the airport are currently vacant and rarely used because they don't have jetways, used to get passengers from the terminal to the planes.

    Airport leaders said they are looking ahead as theme parks and other local venues grow.

    "There's a clear correlation between the theme parks and what happens in terms of traffic here," said Brown.

    Passengers have mixed feelings about the current state of affairs at the airport.

    "I've never had a problem. I've flown several times out of Orlando," said traveler Carrie Powell.

    "All things considered, the airport can be monstrously congested," said passenger Lam Nguyen.

    Airport officials said a new terminal would be funded by the airlines and fees tacked on to ticket purchases.

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    Orlando International Airport improvement plan could cost $2.1 billion