Spectrum News 13: Orlando International Airport Execs Facing Tough Decisions Amid COVID-19 Crisis

May 22, 2020
In The News

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando International Airport executives are forced to make some tough calls and big budget cuts as they’re dealing with the devastating financial impact of COVID-19.

One of those difficult decisions will involve the airport’s new C terminal on the South Side. The coronavirus pandemic hit right in the middle of its construction.

It’s a project stakeholders like Rep. Darren Soto say will be essential, especially when theme parks start to reopen.

“There’s no question as we emerge from the pandemic that we need more gates at the airport,” said Soto.

The terminal is 60% done, but flight travel is down more than 90%. So airport leaders aren’t 100% sure Terminal C will get done on time, or what the finished product will look like.

“It would take additional time and time for funding that right now, just simply isn’t there,” said Soto.

Airport leaders are considering slashing $226 million from the Terminal C construction budget and reducing the number of new gates from 19 down to 15.

Terminal C was going to be home to several Orlando based businesses as well, but it’s uncertain what businesses, or how many, will be able to move in and when.

 “I think this virus is having a big economic impact, and it’s concerning because who knows what this will look like in six months,” said frequent flier Tracy Mendoza.

Now airport leaders say even though the impacts of COVID-19 are forcing their hands, they hope they won’t be forced to make even more tough cuts.

The Orlando International Airport got $170 million from the CARES Act.

The MCO team told Spectrum News even though they appreciate the help, it’s not nearly enough to make up for the losses they’ve already experienced.