Orlando’s star continues to rise with travelers the world over, and nothing substantiates that better than the record 47 million-plus passengers who traveled through Orlando International Airport (MCO) in 2018. Visit Orlando spoke with Phil Brown for insight into the operations of Florida’s busiest airport, how MCO works with us to promote The Orlando Experience® – and the continued growth on the horizon.
Q&A with Phil Brown, CEO Greater Orlando Aviation Authority
How does improving your transportation infrastructure contribute to The Orlando Experience®?
MCO is the first and last impression for travelers flying in and out of Central Florida. We strive to create a memorable experience that inspires people to return. We accomplish this goal by increasing our customer-service focus on safety, comfort, ease and speed. These key elements are integral to the airport’s brand, and we’ve focused on them throughout the design of the South Terminal — the first LEED®v4 airport campus in the world.
How does Visit Orlando partner with MCO to promote Orlando as a destination?
We’re grateful for Visit Orlando’s partnership in promoting the destination’s brand. I serve on Visit Orlando’s board, providing the Aviation Authority’s perspective on travel to Orlando. Visit Orlando provides marketing support to international carriers that choose to serve MCO. We also align our efforts to drive travel industry sales by partnering with airlines for campaigns during key booking periods — and we attend trade shows together to engage with decision-makers and increase our visibility on the global stage.
How is the airport’s Capital Improvement Plan progressing?
MCO has made tremendous enhancements to the North Terminal to better serve a record number of passengers. We completed ticket-counter renovations, security checkpoint expansions, and enhanced wayfinding and signage. We’ve also upgraded the baggage handling system, expanded our Airside 4 gates, and added more parking with Garage C. In addition, we’ve completed our South Airport Automated People Mover (APM) complex, which connects passengers to the North Terminal and the adjoining Intermodal Terminal Facility. The ITF has been a focal point in our vision, as MCO will be the first fully integrated, multimodal airport terminal in the U.S. for rail-air-ground transportation. Our next phase of construction is well underway on our South Terminal, which is slated to open in 2021 with 19 new gates to accommodate up to 27 aircraft.
How do airport expansions and enhancements impact travel to Orlando?
Orlando remains the most-visited destination in the country, and MCO is proud to be the gateway for an increasing number of travelers each year. As part of our commitment to The Orlando Experience®, we want all passengers to enjoy a world-class airport with modern amenities designed for their needs. In addition to enhancing the airport’s overall aesthetics, we’ve improved efficiencies. For example, we added more than 700 state-of-the-art digital display screens to show essential airline information for passengers and more user-friendly ticket/check-in options in response to the growing preference for self-service kiosks.
Working Together to Boost Visitation
President and CEO, Visit Orlando
Visit Orlando and MCO Team Up to Promote Our Destination
When it comes to growing Orlando’s brand, there’s no question that visitors’ first (and last) impressions matter.
As GOAA CEO Phil Brown notes, The Orlando Experience® begins well before tourists set foot in our destination’s world-class attractions. By continually improving its amenities, aesthetics and customer service, Orlando International Airport makes people feel welcome from the moment their planes touch down.
The airport, whose passenger volume is 70 percent visitors, is one of the most visible reminders of tourism’s enormous impact on our region. As Visit Orlando promotes our destination across the globe, the returns are evident in the form of record-setting air-passenger traffic.
Building on this momentum, Visit Orlando also works closely with GOAA to secure robust air service and airline partnerships that bring travelers to our doorstep. These efforts recently earned us a “highly commended” award in the prestigious Routes Marketing Awards competition, which recognized several global campaigns Visit Orlando conducted in 2018 alongside GOAA, multiple airlines and member companies.
When Visit Orlando and the airport work together, we create tailwinds that fuel demand. The best part is, those travelers generate significant economic impact across our community, as well as the ability for all of us who live here to benefit from a world-class airport.