Orlando International Airport’s Terminal C South emphasizes innovation, technology and sustainability


Editor’s note: Burns Engineering and Hensel Phelps are listed as exhibitors at the 2022 AAAE/ACC Airport Planning, Design and Construction Symposium.

The largest expansion project undertaken in the history of Orlando International Airport (MCO) is set to open later this year. The project is nearly 90% complete. The new terminal will cover 300 acres and add 15 gates that can accommodate up to 20 aircraft, including narrowbody, widebody and super jumbo jets. The three-level South Terminal C will accommodate the travel of an additional 10 to 12 million passengers per year.

MCO consistently ranks among the nation’s top airports for customer service. The new Terminal C South is designed to reinforce this reputation. Covering more than 2.5 million square feet, the new terminal will usher in the next generation of The Orlando Experience®: a seamless, low-touch environment with an exciting combination of concession offerings, immersive multimedia displays and a feeling unrivaled finish.

The space features a robotic Early Bag Storage system and a state-of-the-art radio frequency identification (RFID) technology tote system that tracks baggage in real time and is faster than conventional baggage conveyor systems. Inbound passengers will enjoy top floor arrivals with streamlined baggage collection at the same level.

In addition to the unique architecture and aesthetics, travelers will benefit from a simpler and more efficient screening process with 100% automated lanes for international departures and arrivals. Regarding the passenger experience, the South Terminal includes interactive video screens in the ticketing halls, concession center and boarding areas that will provide high-definition visual experiences. The project is designed and built to be the first LEED v4 airport campus and will provide passengers with access to several interior spaces that promote sustainability.

“The combination of sophisticated design and innovation truly puts people first in a world-class facility that will deliver ‘the Orlando experience’ and more the minute they set foot inside. “said Carolyn Fennell, senior director of public affairs and community relations for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. “Orlando International Airport, Florida’s primary gateway and one of the nation’s most popular leisure destinations, is preparing for the future of travel with this impressive construction project.”

Here is what the main companies contributing to the project say about the South Terminal:

Curtis Fentress, Principal Design Architect FAIA with Design Architect Fentress Architects, described his vision for the South Terminal as using grand gestures to create an unforgettable arrival experience to an extraordinary destination. “The future design of Orlando International Airport must provide information, convenience and efficiency to meet the demands of a broad passenger profile,” Fentress said. “It must also provide a ‘sense of place’ reflected in its architecture and the Central Florida character that showcases the next generation of The Orlando Experience.”

Fentress said: “We’ve really embraced the Orlando Experience® with the innovative skylight which produces dappled light, passengers will feel like they’re walking through an orange grove, one of this area’s most beloved local features. . We’ve also used plants, trees and new technologies that will enhance the passenger experience now and for generations to come.

“The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority’s Terminal C design theme truly embraces the trilogy of architecture, which masterfully blends nature, art and society,” said JC Arteaga, AIA, HNTB reference architect. “You need all three to create truly iconic architecture.”

“Some terminals are designed for airlines or planes. Orlando International Airport’s new Terminal C is designed for people. The aviation authority wanted its new world-class terminal to be the start of a visitor’s vacation by bringing Florida’s signature flora inside,” said Bill Brooks, PEI, HNTB Senior Program Director for the Recording Architect team. “Inviting water, garden and light into the Orlando terminal and grounds has long been a central part of The Orlando Experience.”

Paul O’Donnell, Director of Operations for Hensel Phelps, said, “We are organized as a collaborative village and everyone has worked well together. The cross-project planning tool facilitated collaboration, but most importantly, everyone was rowing in the same direction. »

“It is an honor to partner with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority on the expansion of Orlando International Airport,” said Jeff Justen, Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Turner Construction Company. “This terminal reflects the vibrancy and diversity of Central Florida so well, and we are so proud that people from the community have been involved in building this gateway to the community. It will be much more than a transfer point from one place to another. The modern terminal includes the latest technology, sustainable and efficient features, and will serve as a wonderful gateway for passengers visiting, living and working in the region.

“The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority has assembled a team of world-class architects, engineers, designers and builders to bring this project from plan to reality,” said Nick Sosa, project manager at Kiewit. “The result is an extraordinary facility that will further enhance the experience of millions of travelers each year.”

“From day one, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority has provided strong and consistent leadership committed to technological excellence,” said Brian Phillips, VP Aviation for Burns Engineering. “The result will be a world-class facility that will not only be efficient and safe, but will provide passengers with a unique and memorable experience that showcases all that Orlando has to offer.”


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