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Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Approves $17M In Deferrals For Airport Businesses

Orlando International Airport photo by Paulo O via Creative Commons (CC by 2.0)

Orlando International Airport photo by Paulo O via Creative Commons (CC by 2.0)

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The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority today approved some relief for airlines, rental car companies and concession operators that pay fees to the airport.

The board, which includes Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, approved $17 million in deferrals.

While deferrals may offer some relief, the fees will still be due at a later date.

Companies lobbied the board, saying that the lost business will not come back – and that some fees should be forgiven, instead of deferred.

Greater Orlando Aviation Authority CEO Phil Brown told the board the airport is seeing a 90 percent drop in passengers, and that he expects it to take Orlando longer to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“9/11. The [Great] Recession. It’s taken Central Florida a little bit longer than some other places to reclaim its traffic and move back to normal levels,” said Brown.

Dyer said he understands that businesses were upset, thinking that the temporary deferral measure was the only form of relief the board was going to offer.

“That this was the only action we were going to take, and I think Phil [Brown] has made it pretty clear that this is a quick stopgap so we can analyze prudently, as Mayor Demings said, what our situation is and what our options are,” said Dyer.

The board pledged to examine fee forgiveness at a later date.

The airport expects to end the year with about 25 million passengers, about half as much traffic as the year before.

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