$1.1bn extension to secure Orlando’s future as US hub airport

Construction work has begun on a series of projects to expand and renew Orlando airport in Florida. 

The works, which will cost a total of $1.1bn, are intended to increase the airport’s passenger capacity and maintain its status as one of the hub airports of the south-eastern US.  

Some $128m of the headline cost will go towards the improvement of baggage handling systems, and $113m will increase the number of check-in desks. In addition, $33m will be spent on ground transportation, $76m is earmarked for airfield projects and $90m will go on replacing the present automated people-movers (pictured) with ones to be supplied by Mitsubishi. 

The airport currently serves 35 million travellers a year, and once that figure reaches 45 million it will trigger the construction of a southern terminal.  

Multiple companies will work on the construction including Colorado contractor Hensel Phelps and a joint venture between Hochtief subsidiary Turner Construction and Nebraskan contractor Kiewit. 

Phil Brown, an executive director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, said: "Today’s travellers expect a higher level of service, so it’s essential that we strive to stay at the forefront of innovation and customer care. 

"Our goal is to identify, develop and implement projects that meet the needs of the community and provide an optimal travel experience." 

Frank Kruppenbacher, chairman of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, said: "Supporting dynamic growth in central Florida has always been the hallmark of our phased development philosophy." 

Orlando International is the 13th busiest airport in the US and the 29th busiest in the world, by passenger traffic. The improvements are scheduled to be completed by 2018.

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