The Future of MCO: Expanding Terminals, Rental Car Facility, & More

by joeheg

Orlando International Airport’s Terminal C welcomed its first passengers in September 2022. The new terminal is equipped with 15 gates and caters to domestic as well as international flights, including anchor tenant JetBlue which has made it its home. The opening of Terminal C was a significant expansion for the airport, which had begun planning the new terminal in 2017. However, the construction of several projects was postponed due to the pandemic. Additionally, some improvements were made based on feedback from customers who had complaints about flying through the terminal.

people walking in a large airportThrough a federal grant approved in 2023, the airport will complete the 4 additional gates, which were supposed to open in phase 1 and a pedestrian bridge between the train/tram station and the terminal. They’ll also be installing moving walkways for the long walks from the Palm Court area to the gates.

While this seems like a large expansion, it’s just the beginning for MCO.

At an I-Drive Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority CEO Kevin Thibault presented the long-range vision for the airport. While many of these plans have been announced before, it was eye-opening to see where the people running MCO see it going in the next decades.

  • Additional expansion of Terminal C, adding another 24 gates.
  • Further capacity with Terminal D, currently in the planning stages
  • A consolidated rental car facility will be located on the airport’s south side.
  • Construction of a second on-site hotel
  • Plans to build a vertiport near Terminal C for electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL)

“Terminal C, when it’s fully done, will have 60 million passengers,” Thibault said. “Terminal D will have 60 million passengers. Terminals A and B, 25 million passengers. That’s what it really was designed for. We’ve eked out more capacity on that thing than we really should have.”

Orlando International Airport has the land to plan for expansion. It is the fourth largest airport in the US, following Denver, Dallas/Fort Worth and Washington Dulles. Plans for a consolidated rental car facility would open an additional 5,000 parking spaces at the terminals and alleviate some traffic congestion on the roads.

It will be interesting to see how Orlando International Airport will expand over the next 10-20 years.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Christian March 21, 2024 - 3:36 pm

Wow, I’m remembering about 35 years ago when I was picking someone up and parked ridiculously close to the entrance. We’re talking around 50 yards on a single level parking lot. My how things have changed.

Out of curiosity, when you say MCO is the fourth largest airport in the U.S., using what metric?

joeheg March 21, 2024 - 6:39 pm

Acerage of the airport property.


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