Tram at Orlando International Airport back in service

Up to 7,000 passengers affected by delays

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

ORLANDO, Fla. - Construction work and technical glitches at Orlando International Airport disrupted tram service Wednesday morning. Instead, travelers were shuttled on buses, according to an airport official.

Shuttles from gates 1-59 were suspended around 9:30 a.m. as airport officials worked to remedy a mechanical issue. The tram was back in service at 12:39 p.m.

The high volume of travelers caused delays and long lines at the airport. Frustrated travelers tweeted their complaints.

Orlando International Airport executive director Phil Brown said the problem was with a newer train that was replaced about a year ago. Officials have not said what caused it to break down.

A continuity plan that's usually used at night when the tram goes down for maintenance was put into play to transport passengers.

"Clearly, because of the volume of the daytime as compared to the nighttime, there was some inconvenience, major inconvenience to the passengers," Brown said.

[PICTURES: Lines, delays at Orlando International Airport]

He said up to 7,000 passengers were impacted by the delays and lines. Some passengers, he said, opted to walk to the airside instead of waiting for one of the six buses to move them.

American Airlines, United Airlines and Spirit Airlines held flights to accommodate travelers who were caught in the crowd. Officials were unaware of any travelers who had missed their flight.

It took about three hours for the issue to be resolved.

Spokeswoman Carolyn Fennel cited "growing pains" for the problems Wednesday morning. She said there is major construction going on to replace the trains to the satellite terminals housing gates 1-29 and gates 30-59, and the train to satellite terminal 30-59 had a technical issue and is down.

Guests departing all have to take the one train to satellite terminal 1-29, then a bus to satellite terminal 30-59 to catch their flights, she said.

Brown said airport officials will conduct a review of the incident within the next two days and determine what improvements can be made in their continuity plan.

"Clearly, there are areas we need to improve," Brown said.

Anyone planning to travel this week should plan to arrive early and stay informed about any possible delays.

Orlando is the nation's most visited city with 66 million visitors last year. Around 41 million passengers passed through the airport in 2016, according to The Associated Press.

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