Orlando International Airport prepares for busiest Thanksgiving travel since start of pandemic

Traffic expected to reach similar record levels to 2019, airport CEO says

Orlando International Airport officials are preparing for big crowds during the Thanksgiving travel period with traffic expected to reach similar record levels set in 2019. During a news conference Thursday, CEO Kevin Thibault said there will be 1.75 million passengers at the airport between Nov. 18 and 29.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando International Airport officials are preparing for big crowds during the Thanksgiving travel period with traffic expected to reach similar record levels set in 2019.

During a news conference Thursday, CEO Kevin Thibault said there will be 1.75 million passengers at the airport between Nov. 18 and 29.

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The busiest day at MCO is projected to be the Saturday after Thanksgiving with approximately 165,100 passengers, according to Thibault.

“Expect heavy traffic around the airport,” Thibault said. “Tens of thousands of passengers will be coming through here, so arrive early.”

This is also the first major travel holiday since the $2.8 billion Terminal C opened with JetBlue as the anchor tenant.

“By adding a third terminal, we’ve added a third checkpoint and relocated thousands of passengers now to that new terminal,” Thibault said. “If you have a flight leaving from Terminal C, we just want to remind you to plan accordingly because it’s different now than if you’re coming into Terminals A and B.”

Officials said airport parking is a big focus for the holiday season as garages and surface lots are expected to reach capacity.

“We expect them to fill, so just give yourself ample time to find adequate parking to satisfy your needs,” Director of Operations Marquez Griffin said. “We intend to keep the community informed, as to the parking status, so that they can make informed decisions prior to getting to the airport.”

Travelers are encouraged to download the Orlando MCO Airport app for up-to-date parking information.

Passengers can also make a security checkpoint reservation through MCO Reserve.

Further details about getting around the airport can be found here.

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About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.