M.C.O........a history.

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Florida Guide > Florida History

M.C.O........a history.

Those of us who have visited Orlando for many decades can well remember the times when you had to fly into Miami and make the four plus hours slog up to the theme park area (usually with over tired, fractious children)

It was usch a blessing to be able to fly into an airport that was right on the doorstep (so to speak) or at least, only around an hour away from your vacation villa.

Have you ever wondered who Orlando Airport runs under the code name of MCO? Well, it stands for Mc Coy airport which was its previous name when it ran as a military base.

Colonel Michael Mc Coy was killed in a bombing and navigation competetion in 1957 and it was decided to rename the airport in his honour.

Fast forward to the 1960s and the airport was part commercial and part military. After the end of the war in Vietnam it was decided that they did not need the base any more so it first became Orlando Mc Coy Jetpoint and then Orlando International Airport.

The original airport is now known as Orlando Executive Airport and MCO has a new home.

Construction on the new airport as we know it started in 1978 and the first phase was complete in 1981.

The International Concourse opened 3 years later (how glamorous that seemed then and how dated and tired it looks now)

Since those times, more runways and the North Terminal have been completed bit by bit.

M. C. O covers 23 square miles and this makes it the 3rd largest airport in the United States. In the first 22 years of its life the passengers using the airport rose 6 fold.

This airport has several good features: free wi fi is a boon if you have a laptop and a built in hotel (never seen that before) I have not stayed there but friends did purely for the fun of it.

It is a designated emergency landing site for space shuttles and it has one of the easist car hire pick up systems I have ever encountered.

Of course it now has a rival in that there is another Orlando airport based in Sanford ( S. F. B. ) this is the place where we land when we take any of the charter flights.

Although Sanford is somewhat plainer than M. C. O. it has a place in the heart of many Brits for whom it was their first site of America.

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