ORLANDO-A $1.2-billion expansion, begun five years ago, culminates Sept. 20 in the opening of Orlando International Airport’s fourth terminal.

The 16-gate, $130 million, 318,000-sf structure will allow OIA to better handle its 30 million passengers annually. Now, airport officials are considering adding an international terminal that could serve 40 million passengers a year.

The fourth terminal gives the 80 airlines that fly in and out of OIA room to grow. The terminal will service AirTran Airways, JetBlue Airways, Midway Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Sun Country Airlines. Delta Airlines is the largest carrier at OIA, dominating the third airside terminal built nine years ago.

Orlando International Airport is the 16th busiest airport in the country and the second busiest in Florida, behind Miami International Airport.

Metro Orlando, as the nation’s No. 1 tourist destination, is expected to attract 42 million visitors by plane and car this year, according to the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau. When the airport opened its first terminal in 1981, six million passengers used the facility.

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