Plans are on the drawing board for a $43-million expansion at Orlando Sanford International Airport (website | Facebook), one of Florida’s fastest growing transportation hubs.
The expansion is expected to add 4 gates, 3 baggage carousels and more security lanes in a centralized screening area that will serve both domestic and international passengers.
In addition, preliminary plans call for enhancing the front of the airport, rerouting traffic to ease congestion in the departure/arrival areas and installing a vintage WWII bomber in the ticket area as a nod to the airport’s roots as a Naval Air Station.
Sanford-based CPH Engineers Inc. (website) is in charge of the $3-million design process. Sanford Airport Authority President and CEO Diane Crews said the plans are about 30% complete, so the scope of the project could change. The expansion must be approved by the FAA.
“We have been communicating with the FAA throughout this process, and their feedback has been positive to this point,” said Crews.
Bids for contractors are expected to go out by the end of 2016. Construction is slated to begin in May 2017 and last 36 months.
The expansion will be funded with a mix of government funds, private-sector money and existing ticket fees from passengers.
- The Florida Department of Transportation will provide $8.5 million
- Airports Worldwide Inc. (website) – the company hired by the airport authority to manage the domestic and international terminals, as well as ground handling and cargo services – will provide $8 million
- Passenger Facility Charges (PFC), the fee travelers pay on each ticket, will provide $27 million
Crews said the airport authority has no intentions of raising the PFC. The authority currently charges a PFC of $4 per ticket. The FAA allows airports to charge up to $4.50 per ticket, and most do.
“Our revenue projections are conservative, and we don’t feel there’s a need to increase the PFC,” said Crews.
Last year, 2.48 million passengers traveled through OSIA in 2015. That’s about 65% of the airport’s capacity. It’s standard procedure for aviation officials to begin creating expansion plans when a facility reaches 60% capacity. Traffic at the Sanford Airport has more than doubled since 2010, when 1.16million people traveled through OSIA.
The increase in traffic is being fueled by Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air’s (website | Facebook) domestic growth in Central Florida. In 2010, 767,000 domestic passengers traveled through the Sanford Airport. Last year domestic passengers topped 2.2 million, a 291% increase.