Orlando International Airport (MCO) is selected as one of only five airports in the nation by the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to allow the airports to pay for additional overtime for CBP staff members. This allows MCO to partner with CBP to better process a growing number of international arrivals into the country. As part of the program, the Board of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) at its May board meeting approved spending up to $2.5 million annually for eligible CBP overtime.
“This decision by Customs and Border Protection will have a positive direct and indirect impact on Central Florida’s economy,” says Phil Brown, Executive Director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. “By allowing more overtime flexibility for CBP agents to process a growing number of international guests, it will improve the experience and make Central Florida more inviting for international business and leisure travelers.”
The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority has long enjoyed a strong collaborative working relationship with CBP and has partnered on many projects including the Model Port Program, which included hiring “ambassadors” for the Federal Inspection Station (FIS) to assist with passenger facilitation; providing CBP with a prime location for the Global Entry enrollment center; working with CBP to become the first airport in the nation to automate the I-94 entry form; and being the first airport to implement the Automated Passport Control self-processing kiosks. Additionally, GOAA is in the process of investing $114 million on Airside 4 improvements to increase international passenger processing capabilities, which will include 4 new international gates and the expansion of the FIS.
International traffic continues to grow at MCO and currently makes up approximately 11 percent of overall airport passenger totals with 3,945,574 international arrivals in 2013, which set another record. In May of this year, international traffic increased more than 16 percent over last year.
While Orlando International’s traffic figures did play a factor in the determination, CBP also awarded Orlando the designation based on other criteria including: impact on current CBP operations; funding reliability; community concerns; health and safety issues; the ability to receive support from other government agencies as necessary; community and economic benefits; and the feasibility of implementing the proposal in a timely manner.
Once a mutually acceptable agreement has been finalized between GOAA and CBP the program could begin by the end of the year.
Basic MCO information: Orlando International Airport, with 35 million annual passengers, is the second busiest airport in Florida and 14th busiest in the U.S. The airport has 18,000 badged employees and generates $26 billion in direct and indirect revenue for the regional economy. Orlando International Airport strives to value and delight its customers through a design concept known as The Orlando Experience®.
Source: Greater Orlando Aviation Authority