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MCO New Terminal ‘C’

Orlando International Airport’s CEO Shares How Its New Terminal Will Affect Travelers

The new $2.8-billion terminal will open on Sept. 19 with a design that goes against the standard airport grain.

There’s something of an airport renaissance going on in the United States. From coast to coast, airports are debuting much-needed, new-and-improved terminals.
On Monday, Sept. 19, Orlando International Airport (MCO) will become the next airport to debut a shiny new structure: the $2.8 billion Terminal C, or south terminal.

The 1.8 million-square-foot space will add 15 gates to the airport, increasing its capacity by an estimated 12 million passengers per year. (The airport became the world’s seventh busiest in 2021 with 40.4 million passengers, up from the 27th busiest in 2020 and 31st busiest in 2019.)

But the new terminal isn’t just adding capacity to the airport, it’s fundamentally changing the airport experience for travelers passing through it. For starters, this is a high-tech, low-touch terminal.
“At Terminal C, technology drives functionality,” Kevin Thibault, CEO of Orlando International Airport, tells Travel + Leisure. He points to some of the more obvious tech that passengers will notice immediately — biometric facial recognition systems at each gate and experiential multimedia installations throughout the terminal, for example.

There are also Bluetooth navigational beacons that show travelers where they are within the airport in real-time, helping with step-by-step directions to get to any point within the airport. And there are 1,471 wireless chargers spread throughout the waiting areas at the gates.
“Other technology, like our radio frequency identification [RFID] for baggage that tracks luggage in real-time, is behind the scenes, working hard for our passengers 24/7 to ensure a new standard for travel with fewer lost bags, a more efficient security process, and an overall more enjoyable passenger experience,” Thibault says.
The RFID baggage system means that airport staff will know where every checked bag is at all times, reducing the potential for losing luggage. It’ll also speed up the whole process, with an average transportation time of five minutes from check-in to gate and from gate to baggage claim.
The layout of the terminal is radically different from most domestic airports, too. Designed by Fentress Architects and engineering firm HNTB, Terminal C has flipped the standard airport set-up where departures are on the top floor and arrivals are on the bottom floor. As passengers exit their aircraft and move toward the baggage claim and ground transportation, they’re greeted by bright sunlight streaming in through skylights.

“Particularly for international travelers, the top arrival creates an unparalleled sense of place with no question that passengers have landed in the Sunshine State,” Thibault says. Another key indicator that you’re in Florida is the retail shops by Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld Orlando — some of the most popular tourism draws to the state.
The terminal will also serve as a crucial transportation hub connecting the greater Orlando area with South Florida; it will be home to a future stop of the high-speed Brightline train, due to open in 2023. The train will connect Orlando with West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami, with a western extension to Tampa in the works, too. “This connectivity is a game-changer for our state, our economy, and for tourism,” Thibault says.
For now, 11 airlines will call Terminal C home: Aer Lingus, Azul, Breeze Airways, British Airways, Caribbean, Emirates, GOL, Icelandair, JetBlue, Lufthansa, and Norse. And the airport will have just one lounge: the Plaza Premium Lounge.
International operations at Orlando International Airport’s new Terminal C will begin on Sept. 19, with domestic operations following on Sept. 26.
All photos courtesy of Jeff Leimbach/Court

You can read the original article here.

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