The future site of Orlando International Airport's south terminal

Airport officials are confident that despite moving up the south terminal construction project 5-7 years earlier than planned, they can avoid logistical nightmares with the other airport projects going on nearby.

"We have for some time some time planned to build this in phases, so there should be no disruptions," airport COO Stan Thornton said.


The way the projects were planned is working in the airport's favor, he said. "What we are building on are separate construction sites." The 16- to 24 gate terminal will be built just to the west of a new car garage.

The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority is spending $100 million to design the south terminal, with total cost for the terminal expected it to be $1.8 billion.

The only real complexity "is paying attention to what the passengers are doing so that we don't build too soon and don't build too late," Thornton said.

The airport will spend the rest of this year choosing design and construction firms and do  design work in 2016. In 2017, based on passenger traffic, it will be decided whether to start construction, Thornton said.

The new terminal was authorized earlier this month when the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority decided the airport's growing passenger count made waiting for the expansion impossible.

But already slated for nearby is a $470,000, 500,000-square-foot complex that will include a rail system for taking passengers to terminals, a garage that will fit 2,400 cars and ground transportation in the form of buses, shuttles and cabs.

The complex will also include the airport's new intermodal facility, a $211 million project that will serve as destination for rail projects including All Aboard Florida.

The expansion of Orlando International Airport will also ultimately include two hotels as the transportation hub builds out its southern extension.