Updated: Tui shifts Orlando flights to new gateway

Tui is to shift flights to Orlando to a different gateway airport from 2022.

Services are being moved to Orlando Melbourne international airport (MLB) about 55 miles away from the Florida theme park capital.

Tui currently flies from the UK to Orlando Sanford airport, close to the area’s main attractions.

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Located on the central Florida coast, Orlando Melbourne handles less than 500,000 passengers a year with current services to Philadelphia and Charlotte by American Airlines and Atlanta by Delta Air Lines.

However, little-used Orlando Melbourne will be investing millions of dollars in terminal enhancements to “directly benefit” Tui UK customers.  

Tui and the airport plan to working together in the coming months to create “an outstanding arrival and departure customer experience” for holidaymakers.

A new terminal extension will include unique concessions, innovative passenger amenities and many other family-friendly features that will allow customers to be entertained, according to the operator.

The extension will also provide an “uncongested, speedy, stress-free arrival” as holidaymakers are welcomed with a glass of fresh Florida orange juice and assisted with any onward arrangements.

“Concierge services, public and private transfer options and all major car hire companies will be conveniently located upon arrival,” Tui added.

The operator deploys Boeing 787 Dreamliners to Orlando.

Tui Airways managing director Dawn Wilson said: “Our new Orlando gateway will be perfectly situated to offer Tui UK customers total flexibility in designing their holiday around any combination of theme parks, beaches or cruising.”

Airport executive director Greg Donovan said: “We have been working on this for the last five years. Orlando Melbourne is a great location right on the Atlantic, really close to Port Canaveral.

“We believe that access to the beach, Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center is much easier; there are less toll booths.

“The distance may be longer [to the theme parks] but you do not have to stop as many times.  The travel time to the resorts is an hour and 15 minutes.”

Donovan said around 500,000 passengers pass through the airport each year, but is expecting that figure to rise by 200,000 from 2022.

“We are only using around one third of our capacity,” he said. “We are small airport so there is no congestion and we are able to process people much quicker.”

Donovan also added: “Tui’s proven product combined with MLB’s exceptional concierge services will make for an unprecedented customer experience for UK holidaymakers travelling to Florida.

“With more than $100 million of investment into MLB’s airport facilities over the last few years, and much more on the way, MLB will be practically the newest and most modern airport in Florida.”

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