Thousands of passengers use the ticket counter at Orlando International Airport each day.
Thousands of passengers use the ticket counter at Orlando International Airport each day. (Tom Benitez / Orlando Sentinel)

Orlando International Airport is redoing its ticketing area, installing kiosks, pushing back glass walls and adding tables to allow self check in for bags.

The $146 million revamping will be done at times the airport is open and will require relocating some airlines to other locations within the terminal.

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The project is still in the design phase, with work expected to start this fall and conclude by the end of 2017.

The airport will work in phases, with plans to do the majority of work at night, and some during the day. Schenkel Schultz is the general consultant and is engaged in the planning and design of the renovation of the ticket lobby.

The need for such an overhaul is "critical," said Stan Thornton, the airport's chief operating officer.

"We identified areas of the terminal that were going to be constraint points going forward," and the ticketing areas, which have stayed pretty much the same since the were designed in the late 1970s were a hot spot, Thornton said.

The areas were meant to accommodate 24 million passengers annually. The airport is now at 36 million.

One of the biggest components of the project is moving 25 to 30 feet forward the windows in front of the terminal's third level, where passengers are dropped off. This will add significant square footage to the terminal's interior.

The airport will see its check-in kiosks rise in number to accommodate new trends in processing. Airport officials do not have an exact number of additions because each carrier will determine what is needed for their operations.

Passengers will also be able to check in their bags themselves through the kiosks.

The whole effect will be one of openness, much like Apple stores that use a variety of streamlined approaches for customer service,  Thornton said.

"We need to modify the ticket counters to accommodate all the different ways of getting tickets and to handle growth," Thornton said. "What we are doing will greatly increase our throughput of the people we can check in."

The check-in counter remodeling is one of the chief components of the airport's program to handle existing growth and prepare for what is expected. While the recently approved south terminal will not come online until at least 2019, the existing north terminal is already strained by a passenger load that necessitates major capital projects.

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