Airports battling it out over word 'Orlando'
Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Melbourne Airport Authority to meet
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority isn't backing off its ire over other airports using the name "Orlando" to entice more passengers to their airports vs. Orlando International Airport.
And that includes the Melbourne-based Orlando Melbourne International Airport.
Officials from the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and the Melbourne Airport Authority will hold a special meeting from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday to try and find a resolution, News 6 partner Florida Today reported. The two sides will meet on neutral ground — Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral.
There doesn't appear to be much runway for the Orlando International (MCO) and Orlando Melbourne International (MLB) to find a resolution.
“It is perplexing that MCO is only now starting to beat the territorial drum," said Greg Donovan, executive director of Orlando Melbourne International.
"Orlando Melbourne International Airport is long past the time of reverting to its former name."
Orlando International Airport is also taking action against Orlando Sanford International Airport in Seminole County in that airport's attempt to trademark the name "Orlando Sanford International Airport."
"It's really about protecting the consumer, and the brand," said Frank Kruppenbacher, chairman of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.
Kruppenbacher noted that last year when Donald Trump was running for president and held a rally at the Melbourne airport, numerous protesters arrived by mistake to Orlando International.
The Melbourne airport began using "Orlando" in marketing about six years ago on the backs of seats of US Airways and Delta Air Lines flights. The use of the word "Orlando" helped increase "click throughs" on the the Internet by more than 1,000 percent, the airport said.
MCO also apparently disputes the use of the word “beachside” in its marketing of the Melbourne airport. Since 2000, Orlando Melbourne International has periodically referred to itself as “Beachside Orlando."
The Melbourne airport called that GOAA's position hypocritical since it bills Port Canaveral as "Orlando's Port," in its marketing even though its located in Cape Canaveral in Brevard County.
"In these days of search engine optimization, and with more than 60 million tourists coming to our region alone, Orlando Melbourne International Airport is solidly committed to our geographic identifier," Donovan said. "We have long believed that airports should all be pulling together and we know that the public appreciates travel options. Tourism is growing and there’s enough business here for all.”
MCO boasted 43 million passengers this past year. Orlando Melbourne International has under 500,000 passengers annually.
Kruppenbacher said he is hoping for an equitable solution between the two airports, which is said is not about passenger revenue.
"The issue," he said, "is really about confusion."
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