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ORLANDO-Banking on improved passenger traffic over the next six months, The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority is going ahead with previously shelved design plans on the $1 billion, two million-sf south terminal at Orlando International Airport.

St. Louis-based Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK) will be paid $11.9 million for the design job. Construction bids could be put out by June if the traffic pattern improves, GOAA officials say.

Prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist catastrophe, the airport had anticipated handling 31 million passengers this year and 38 million passengers by 2005.

Airport officials could not estimate how many passengers they lost immediately following the attacks in New York and Washington, DC. But Washington-based Air Transport Association estimates the terrorist fear cut 35% from normal traffic nationally. By October, traffic had dropped by only 22% and during Thanksgiving, by 20%.

Orange County chairman and GOAA member Rich Crotty hailed the HOK contract as a new job-creation and economy-stimulating vehicle.

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