“We’re getting real close”: New terminal at Orlando International Airport nearing completion

ORLANDO, Fla. — The new South Terminal “C” at Orlando International Airport is just months away from opening to passengers.

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Eyewitness news was offered an inside look Monday as crews were putting the finishing touches on the new terminal, which is expected to help OIA serve an additional 10 to 12 million passengers per year.

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“This terminal will be beyond the Orlando experience,” Greater Orlando Aviation Authority CEO Kevin Thibault said. “They really know they’re in the sunshine state.”

Thibault says the new terminal will serve the practical purpose of increasing the airport’s capacity and reducing pressure on the north terminal complex.

Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, construction is now more than 90 percent complete.

“We’re working on some supply chain issues, but we’re getting real close,” GOAA Senior Director of Engineering and Construction Davin Ruohomaki said. “When we’re fully done with terminal C, it can handle 60 million passengers.”

Ruohomaki says Phase One of the project includes 15 gates that can accommodate up to 20 airplanes.

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Featuring state-of-the-art technology, the terminal was designed to make the passenger experience as smooth as possible, including at  TSA checkpoints.

“You put your bag, shoes, belt, electronics in a tray, it goes through the unit on its own, and the tray returns, instead of the TSA agent bringing the set of trays back,” Ruohomaki explained.

One of the most high-tech additions includes a new baggage handling system.

Luggage will stay on one level and won’t have to be transported on carts across airport property, so bags can be retrieved more quickly.

“It takes about four and a half minutes for the bags to get up to the top of the bag clam unit,” Ruohomaki said.

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The project costs approximately $3 billion. The goal is to have the new terminal open sometime this summer, though an exact date hasn’t been set.

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