As national air travel has all but stopped for most Americans, Orlando International Airport is not being spared. Air travel at one of the country’s busiest airports is down 96% – all while local officials have been pushing an airport expansion opposed by airlines. This could add some problems to those local plans as well.
It’s also another sign of devastating economic times ahead for Orlando because of the coronavirus pandemic, which relies so heavily on tourism and travel. The impact of the COVID-19 crisis could last longer for the airport depending on the rest of the nation.
Phil Brown, CEO of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, detailed “difficult financial and operational decisions” are ahead in a letter to stakeholders. While the letter did not provide any specifics about possible cost cuts, lost revenue, or staffing, it did say a recovery plan is being developed. Some financial relief has been offered to concessions businesses, car rental companies and airlines, it did note.
According to airport officials, preparations are underway for increased passengers as the state continues to reopen.