Besides having new service from Emirates (News – July 5, 2015) and WestJet Airlines (News – September 5, 2015), Orlando International Airport may be getting more feeder traffic by different rail options approval or planned.
Orlando International Airport
Located 6 miles (10 kilometers) southeast of Orlando, Florida. The former military airport (“McCoy Air Force Base” – hence the airport code “MCO”) has two train options in the pipeline for future service.
SunRail won the approval of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to link its trains to the Orlando International Airport. The Orlando Sentinel reports the move would cost about $225 million, and the FTA could “make as much as $75 million available in grant money, with the remainder coming from state and local sources.”
SunRail started operations in May 2014 providing regional rail service for Central Florida including Orlando.
As part of Phase 2 expansion to be completed by 2017, service would be extended to Osceola County. This will path the way for airport service around 2020.
A privately owned and operated passenger rail service is on track to begin connecting travellers in four major Florida cities. The company called All Aboard Florida revealed that the new express inter-city train service will be called Brightline.
- The line will cost $US3 Billion to construct
- The line stretching over 235 miles (376 kilometers) will connect the cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm and Orlando
- The Orlando station will be located at the Orlando International Airport
- Service to begin by mid 2017
- Express service’s top speed is 125 mph (200 kph)
- WiFi and different power options are available
Internodal train options are heading to Orlando. There would be opportunities for the airport authority to integrate all train options in one convenient hub for easier transfer for passengers. This will allow more passengers from different locations to connect directly to the airport.
Airlines should consider setting up check in counters at different stations so that passengers can enjoy more options to check in or make changes to their travel arrangements. Additionally, airlines should work with Brightline to create interline opportunities. In this scenario, passengers would be able to book all their travels under one ticket (with the train portion being codeshared). At different stations, information boards can be set up to show flight status.
Unlike Europe, Middle East and Asia, North American airports have been slow to embrace intermodal transportation options outside of buses. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)(No.5 on the 2014 Top 30 Busiest Airport list) is the highest ranked airport not to have any train connections.
In total, North America hosts the most airports (five) out of the top 30 without any direct train (e.g. lines running directly to the airport like London’s Heathrow Express/Tube) or indirect train (e.g. skytrain connection to subway for JFK)) connections.
Other North American airports on the list without any train options include:
- No. 18 – Denver International Airport (DEN) – trains will be operational by 2016
- No. 24 – Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
- No. 25 – McCarran International Airport (LAS)
- No. 28 – George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
Orlando International Airport will be one of the first airports in North America to feature two intermodal train options. This will increase options and lower travel times for passengers to reach the airport for the only non-stop flights to Dubai (DXB) and Vancouver (YVR) from Florida.