Writer: Alejandro Sanchez
2 min read January 2022 — As most restrictions for international travelers were lifted by the end of last year, Central Florida is expected to reach or even surpass pre-pandemic levels for the number of air passengers arriving to its shores. During a series of interviews with Invest:, industry leaders agreed that the region is ready to meet fresh demand for aviation services in 2022 thanks to important infrastructural renovations and a successful vaccine rollout. Despite being among the most impacted industries during the pandemic, aviation leaders in Orlando are bullish on what’s to come for the sector.
Phillip Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority
We’ve revised our time frame for a rebound to pre-pandemic levels to 2023 from our previous expectation of 2025, given the vaccine rollout and the uptake in traffic that we saw starting in July. Our No. 1 challenge is to ensure we’re able to accommodate the airlines, which is why we’re pushing to complete the South Terminal projects.
Central Florida is really poised for growth because we offer a variety of experiences, from theme parks to natural beauty, that help us to attract travelers. We have a great environment, which is attractive to people who have been cooped up and want to get out.
Tom Nolan, President & CEO, Orlando Sanford International Airport
Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) is going to soar to new levels that will serve the entire Orlando metropolitan area with more airline alternatives and business growth through new jobs that help drive the economy. We appreciate all the millions of passengers and hundreds of tenants that elect to use our airport and all of those that will also use it in the future.
Shaun Germolus, Director of Aviation, Kissimmee Gateway Airport
Orlando International Airport will continue to support the largest commercial airline operations in the State of Florida. The Kissimmee Gateway Airport acts as a reliever general aviation airport to support the region’s aviation market. We have several projects planned to help our expansion and have many companies interested in expanding here. Developing those partnerships will be important to facilitate those projects and support our growing market.
Greg Donovan, Executive Director, Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB)
Our airport is currently at about $3 billion of annual economic impact, and I think 2022 will be a record-breaking year as our airport grows its presence as the coastal gateway to Central Florida. We expect at least 150,000 new international passengers in 2022.
We’re going to see record-breaking passenger activity. Over the next two or three years, that trend will grow.
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