Airport Hopes to Begin $1.1 Billion Capital Improvements Next Year
October 18th, 2013 | WMFE- Work on a new "automated people mover" complex at Orlando International Airport could begin next year. However, some airlines are objecting, and the airport still needs funding approval before it can start building the $470 Million complex.
[Orlando International Airport's Automated People Mover Complex. Image: Greater Orlando Aviation Authority]
The automated people movers transport passengers from the airside terminals to the baggage claim.
The new south APM complex will be a hub for other rail projects- including the All Aboard Florida passenger line planned between Orlando and Miami.
The $470 million APM complex is part of a $1.1 billion capital improvement plan approved by the aviation authority this week.
The plan also calls for upgrades to the airport’s baggage systems and terminal ticket lobby.
The new APM complex will also connect to a new parking garage, which Greater Orlando Aviation Authority executive director Phil Brown says is needed as passenger numbers approach 45 million a year.
“In order for us to build for the future there are some of these projects we’re going to have to build that relieve some of the congestion on the roads and curbs, which is what the major impact of this project will be,” says Brown.
Of the 46 airlines at the airport, 5 don’t support the project.
“The airlines don’t see any need for roads and curbs because they don’t use them,” Brown adds.
Southwest is one of the airlines which does not support building a new APM complex.
"We still do not fully agree with the overall project plan as the automated people mover will create unnecessary costs for the airport and to the airlines," Southwest spokesperson Michelle Agnew told 90.7 News.
Agnew added that airlines will be paying more to use the airport under a new agreement with GOAA which transfers more of the cost of baggage systems to the airlines.
However, Phil Brown says a large part of the cost of the capital improvements will actually come from passenger facility charges and bonds, not airline rates.
Brown says he expects an answer from the Federal Aviation Administration on whether to approve that funding by early 2014.