Why is Orlando airport MCO?

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“MCO” refers to the airport code for Orlando International Airport.  This particular code was given by IATA or the International Air Transport Association.  Before the Orlando airport became an international airport, its code was MCO in reference to its old name, “Orlando Jetport at McCoy.”  The airport is also located just beside McCoy Air Force Base which made it famous for the term “McCoy airport” or “McCoy Orlando.”  Even after Orlando airport expanded to become what it is today as the Orlando International Airport, authorities have decided to retain the old IATA code which is MCO.

It was in the early 1960s when the Orlando Jetport at McCoy started operations.  It was established along with the cooperation of the U.S. military in forming the McCoy Air Force Base in the same area.  The Orlando Jetport at McCoy operates as a civilian facility and became a model for future joint military and civilian airport operations in the U.S. Commercial flights started in this particular airport by late 1961, and by about ten years later, the Orlando airport had expanded to accommodate bigger airlines including Delta Airlines and Southern Airways among many others.  By the year 1976, the Orlando jetport officially became an international airport with its new name “Orlando International Airport.”  But as mentioned in the previous paragraph, the IATA code “MCO” was retained for this particular airport.

MCO, or the Orlando International Airport, continues to grow in terms of passenger traffic.  In the late 1970s, about 5 million passengers were served in this particular airport.  This figure soared to about 30 million passengers by the year 2000, which is just 30 years later.  In terms of land area, MCO ranks as the third largest airport across the U.S.  MCO also boasts of its control tower which is said to be the second tallest across the country.

Author: Hari M

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