BGIplanefreak
Topic Author
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2003 12:51 pm

Orlando - Int'l Gates

Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:45 am

I am a Central Florida resident, MCO is my home airport, but I have never had the opportunity to clear customs & immigration at this airport. I have noticed in the past few years that the int'l gates in Airside 4 (80-87) and being used less and less, while the int'l gates in Airside 1 (20-28) are practically at full capacity. Only a few years ago the situation was reversed, but in the past few years more and more international service is based in Airside 1, while Airside 4 is only used by BA, VS, LH and FL.

Is there a reason for this. Are renovations being done on Airside 4 that would necessitate airlines to switch over to Airside 1? It just strikes me that Airside 4 seems under utilized, except for the few hours in the late afternoon when all the European services arrive. Any thoughts??
 
tonystan
Posts: 1279
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:39 am

RE: Orlando - Int'l Gates

Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:51 am

I would imagine the cut in Immigration and customs officers/hours probably has a lot to do with it! And it's a out to get a whole lot worse....

http://atwonline.com/international-a...n-us-airport-customs-processing-03
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NASCARAirforce
Posts: 2452
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 7:27 am

RE: Orlando - Int'l Gates

Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:15 am

Quoting tonystan (Reply 1):
I would imagine the cut in Immigration and customs officers/hours probably has a lot to do with it! And it's a out to get a whole lot worse....

Nothing to do with it. Customs has always been understaffed at MCO especially around the 4-6pm hour when passengers have been held on planes Airside 4 for up to 2 hours.

Quoting BGIplanefreak (Thread starter):
Is there a reason for this. Are renovations being done on Airside 4 that would necessitate airlines to switch over to Airside 1? It just strikes me that Airside 4 seems under utilized, except for the few hours in the late afternoon when all the European services arrive. Any thoughts??

Think about this for a second - really the only wide body flights in Airside 1 are TAM now, plus the occassional Air Transat that is post cleared - most Air Transat are precleared at their destination which allows Air Transat, West Jet, Sunwing, Can Jet and Air Canada to act like domestic arrivals here.

Aeromexico, Copa, Jet Blue, TAM have moved to Airside 1. Jet Blue moved the whole airline to Airside 1 - so that made total sense. There may be less flights in Airside 4, but consider that the aircraft that park in Airside 4 are longer turns. Some Virgin flights are 3-4 hour turns, so they are sitting at that gate the whole time. Gate 80 is British's signatory gate, Gate 81 is Virgin's. Gates 82, 84J, (86 is taken out of service in this configuration so they can have 7 wide body gates, if 86 was left in service only 5 gates would be able to handle wide bodies) 87, 85 and 83 are GOAA gates. Up until half a year ago, Air France was still using Airside 4 also. Despite the less flights while TAM still there Airside 4 was very crowded. This list below - these planes are usually here simultaneously in the 4-7pm hour, gates are underused prior to 3pm and after 8pm

80 - British
81 - Virgin
83 - usually Virgin
85 - usually Virgin
87 - often Virgin
82 - was TAM, probably Air Tran now
84J - Lufthansa

I believe TAM is only in Airside 1 temporarilly until they get some of the Airside 4 improvements completed. A few of the 90s gates are being converted into International gates - which I believe 2-3 are being added. Once that is completed, TAM and maybe a couple other airlines will move to Airside 4.
 
Clipper136
Posts: 215
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:07 am

RE: Orlando - Int'l Gates

Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:56 pm

The original thinking for the shuffle (because of long waits in the Airside 4 FIS) was to have all widebody ops in Airside 4 and narrowbody ops in Airside 1. Hence the move of COPA, Aeromexico and then Air Jamaica to Airside 1.

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 2):
Nothing to do with it. Customs has always been understaffed at MCO especially around the 4-6pm hour when passengers have been held on planes Airside 4 for up to 2 hours.

Although staffing can be an issue, the main issue the pax holding and processing capacity of the FIS. The FIS was not built to accommodate the numbers of pax it is currently experiencing, at certain hours of the day. Even fully staffed, there is a physical limitation to how many pax can enter and be processed through FIS at a time. Hence, some pax are held on the aircraft rather than backed up in the "tunnels".

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 2):
most Air Transat are precleared at their destination which allows Air Transat, West Jet, Sunwing, Can Jet and Air Canada to act like domestic arrivals here.

Not all the Canadian flights are pre-cleared. Some must still use the FIS.

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 2):
I believe TAM is only in Airside 1 temporarilly until they get some of the Airside 4 improvements completed.

TAM was moved to accommodate the 2nd GRU flight (AM flight). The FIS at Airside 1 is staffed for longer hours than Airside 4. It was easier to relocate TAM than to have CBP have to staff a second FIS in the mornings.

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 2):
A few of the 90s gates are being converted into International gates - which I believe 2-3 are being added. Once that is completed, TAM and maybe a couple other airlines will move to Airside 4.

The work on Airside 4 FIS has not begun, yet. The final design is in progress and the RFP for construction has been issued but not awarded. The reconstruction of the FIS will take place in phases and includes: expansion of the queueing areas; re-configuration of the CBP inspection desks and offices, bag claim and secondary inspection areas; and the addition of 4 FIS swing gates in the 90s wing. Negotiations on the long postponed South Terminal (16 gate international terminal) have begun. This would not be open until 2018 at the earliest. I would think that with TAM about to join LAN in onewolrd, they would stay put in Airside 1, near American.
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canadianpylon
Posts: 327
Joined: Thu May 01, 2003 10:18 pm

RE: Orlando - Int'l Gates

Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:20 pm

Quoting Clipper136 (Reply 3):
Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 2):
most Air Transat are precleared at their destination which allows Air Transat, West Jet, Sunwing, Can Jet and Air Canada to act like domestic arrivals here.

Not all the Canadian flights are pre-cleared. Some must still use the FIS.

That is true... YHM, YQB, YXU have had seasonal service to MCO, and these airports do not have US preclearance.
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