Orlando International Airport
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OIA tourists, conventioneers come with added baggage
Separate check in system for luggage expanding as passenger growth resumes
January 22, 2012By Sara K. Clarke, Orlando Sentinel
Orlando International Airport handles more adidas predator than its share of baggage each day, but it has a secret weapon when it comes to processing the 48,000 pieces of luggage that departing passengers check on an average day.
That weapon isn’t at the airport’s main or airside terminals. It’s a remote sorting facility, more than a mile away, that processes more than a million outbound bags a year, or roughly 7 percent of all the luggage leaving Orlando through OIA.
The airport owned facility, which is currently being renovated to boost its capacity, is run by Bags Inc., the company provides door to door luggage service for hotel guests of certain local resorts, most notably Rosen Hotels and Walt Disney World.
“Our goal in life is to make travel easier,” said Craig Mateer, a former valet in downtown Orlando who started Bags Inc. in August 2003. “Five years from now, you may never carry your bags to or from an airport.”
Travelers about to leave town check their luggage at their hotel, rather than the airport. Bags Inc. brings it to the secure facility, where certified TSA workers screen the luggage and send it directly to planes on the tarmac, avoiding OIA’s scanning machines and conveyor systems.
“We basically bypass the airport infrastructure,” Mateer said. “This is kind of a low cost way, r adidas predator elative to an airport construction project.”
Construction projects are a hot topic these days at OIA, the nation’s 13th largest airport.
The decision to expand is largely based on two measures: the annual number of passengers and customer service benchmarks. Airport officials project service could be compromised once the yearly passenger count, now 36 adidas predator million, reaches 40 million or 45 million if certain enhancement projects are undertaken in the meantime.
According to its most recent projections, the airport is expected to reach 45 million passengers by about 2019.
The remote sorting facility is e adidas predator xpected to extend the airport’s ability to handle a continued rise in the number of passengers. A $20 million project funded by GOAA and federal grants will, when it’s finished, result in a new processing system able to handle 2,200 bags an hour.
Orlando International has spent $280 million since 2005 upgrading its internal baggage system, including accommodating the security measures and screening equipment added nationwide after the September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. consumer goods to generate more luggage than that of the average airport.
According to Joe Bagosy, assistant director of airport operations for OIA’s airline division, Orlando has a 1 to 1 passenger to bag ratio, compared with a 1 to 0.8 ratio industry wide. “We’re a little bit higher,” Bagosy said. “Of course, you bring a lot of children, that means a lot of luggage.”
Also, Orlando stands out among airports its size because about 95 percent of its passenger are “O traffic their trip originates here or Orlando is their ultimate destination. As a result, unlike airports where many of the passengers are simply making connections to other flights, Orlando International has to physically handle most of its travelers’ luggage curbside or at ticket counters.
Growth in the number of checked bags has been blunted in recent years by airlines’ growing use of fees for handling such luggage. But the flow could soon increase again at OIA when two of the airport’s busiest passenger carriers, Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways, begin operating as one.
Southwest, which bought AirTran last May, plans to keep its wildly popular “Bags Fly Free” program when it integrates AirTran fleet into its own, which means many flights offering passengers the chance to check their luggage at no charge.
Adding to the airport’s rising challenge, OIA executives say, is not just the number of bags, but their size, which has grown over the years.
“They’re huge, they’re big and they’re heavy,” said Ron Lewis, deputy executive director of operations for the airport. “The number of bags themselves are not indicative of what’s really being carried compared with 10 years ago, because they’re so much bigger.”.