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According to a press release, OIA is currently designed to support up to 24 million passengers annually. However, because of the increase in the number of air travelers, up to 44 million last year, the expansion became more than necessary.
As a result, passengers felt this influx and have reported the Orlando Airport as intimidating and overcrowded, especially during the holiday travel season.
The opening of the South Terminal’s first phase in 2020 will further increase capacity to 50 million annual passengers, according to airport officials. In addition, this first step will include 16 new gates and will alleviate up to 10 million people from the Central Terminal.
The ultimate vision of the South Terminal is to, in several decades, have 120 gates, or as many as are now at the North Terminal. “At full expansion with 120 gates, we believe this airport could handle between 80 and 100 million passengers a year,” said Davin Ruohomaki, the airport’s senior director of planning and construction, to the Orlando Sentinel. “That’s the size of Atlanta International Airport.”
The Orlando airport has tried to expand twice in the past unsuccessfully. Now, with the economy stable and the funding in place, the airport has already broken ground and started construction on the South Terminal.