Orlando Sanford International Airport
|Owner||Sanford Airport Authority|
|Operator||Airports Worldwide, Inc.|
|Serves||Sanford and Orlando, Florida|
|Focus city for|
|Elevation AMSL||55 ft / 17 m|
FAA Airport Diagram
Orlando Sanford International Airport (IATA: SFB, ICAO: KSFB, FAA LID: SFB) is in Sanford, Florida, near Orlando. It was built as Naval Air Station Sanford, a Master Jet Base for carrier-based attack and reconnaissance aircraft until 1969. The airport is owned and operated by the Sanford Airport Authority.
Sanford is Orlando's secondary commercial airport, but is farther away from downtown Orlando and the major theme parks (Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando) than the primary airport, Orlando International Airport (MCO/KMCO). Because of the affiliation, with Orlando, passenger traffic at Sanford was once dominated by European charter services.
Since 2008, however, a majority of its passenger traffic has been domestic; this is attributable to the entrance of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air, for which Sanford is a focus city. Sanford was also a small focus city for the travel marketer Direct Air until the company's demise in 2012.
Due to flight training, the airport is consistently in the top 30 busiest airports in the world in terms of total flight operations (takeoff and landings).
Orlando Sanford International Airport started life as Naval Air Station Sanford with the airport codes NRJ and KNRJ. Commissioned on November 3, 1942, the base initially concentrated on advanced land-based patrol plane training. It was used by the United States Navy until it closed in 1969.
The City of Sanford assumed control of the former NAS Sanford in 1969 and renamed the facility Sanford Airport, hiring the air station's recently retired Executive Officer, Commander J. S. "Red" Cleveland, USN (Ret.), as the first Airport Manager. The city concurrently established the Sanford Airport Authority. For the next twenty-five years, the airport was a general aviation facility and periodically hosted civilian/military air shows and static displays. Initially an uncontrolled airfield, the control tower was reactivated in the early 1970s as a non-FAA facility, employing a number of retired enlisted Navy air traffic controllers who had served at NAS Sanford.
Additional name changes followed, to include Sanford Regional Airport, Central Florida Regional Airport, Orlando Sanford Regional Airport and the current Orlando Sanford International Airport. Through the 1980s and 1990s the oldest Navy buildings were demolished while those built in the 1950s and 1960s were renovated for civil use. New buildings and hangars were added.
OLF Osceola was transferred to the control of Seminole County, Florida but was never officially recommissioned as an active airfield. In the 1970s the former OLF began to be used by general aviation drug-smuggling aircraft as a transshipment point. Following a major drug interdiction by local and federal law enforcement agencies, Seminole County placed large speed bumps at various intervals across the runway to deter future illegal use. By the 1980s the county began to use the site as a landfill and dump, demolishing the remaining runways.
In 1992, parts of the action film Passenger 57, starring Wesley Snipes, were filmed at the then-Orlando Sanford Regional Airport, where it represented a small airport in Louisiana. Shortly after filming, a new control tower was built and air traffic control operations assumed by the FAA. The Navy control tower and the large Navy hangar to which it was attached were demolished.
In the mid-1990s, a new passenger terminal capable of accommodating jet airliners was built. Charter airlines catering to the heavy British tourist demographic that had previously been using Orlando International Airport were offered greatly reduced landing fees at Sanford, and therefore many carriers relocated their operations.
In 2010, Allegiant Air announced it was moving many flights to the larger and more centrally located Orlando International Airport in order to compete with AirTran Airways. Owing to passenger feedback, all flights have returned to Orlando Sanford.
In 2014, Thomas Cook Airlines moved their operations back to Orlando International Airport after almost a decade of serving Orlando Sanford with the operations of Airtours, JMC Air & My Travel. In Summer 2019 Thomas Cook ceased all operations.
In March 2015, Monarch Airlines ceased operations, after entering administration, therefore resulting in the termination of their flights to Sanford. All flights were operated using their Airbus A330 and served London Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow International.
In November 2019 TUI Airways announced that, from 2022, it would switch their Orlando operations, from its current base at Sanford, to Melbourne, including daily flights to/from 8 British airports. This will bring their operations nearer to Port Canaveral where TUI Cruises will operate from in coming years. As a package holiday company this brings passengers closer to their cruises, although it has angered many TUI passengers who fly with the company to visit Orlando with Walt Disney World and Universal Resort Orlando. 
The airport is home to L3 Harris Airline Academy, which underwent several company changes and several name changes. The academy used to be known as L3 Commercial Training Solutions, Aerosim Flight Academy, and Delta Connection Academy, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines. It provides ab initio flight training for prospective regional airline and international pilots. The Seminole County Sheriff's Office has a hangar and support facility for aviation elements of the agency's Special Operations Division.
The airport covers 3,000 acres (1,214 ha) and has four runways:
The dominant runway is 9L/27R. This was built from the naval air station's original Runway 9/27, which was 8,000 ft (2,400 m) x 200 ft (61 m) with overruns of 2,145 ft (654 m) and 1,985 ft (605 m). A project to extended runway 9L/27R by 1,400 ft (430 m) to 11,000 ft (3,400 m) was completed on April 1, 2013. Parallel Runways 9C/27C and 9R/27L were built later, the former on a previous taxiway and the latter all-new, for small aircraft. The airport also has Runway 18/36, another Navy runway, for rare northerly fronts in the winter, but this 6000-ft runway is rarely used by airliners.
In August 2017, there were 350 aircraft based at this airport: 223 single-engine, 58 multi-engine, 57 jet and 12 helicopter.
|Allegiant Air|| Albany, Allentown, Appleton, Asheville, Austin, Bangor, Belleville/St. Louis, Bloomington/Normal, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Concord (NC), Chattanooga, Chicago/Rockford, Cincinnati, Clarksburg, Columbus-Rickenbacker, Dayton, Des Moines, Elmira, Evansville, Fargo, Fayetteville-Bentonville, Flint, Fort Wayne, Grand Forks, Grand Rapids, Greensboro, Greenville/Spartanburg, Gulfport/Biloxi, Harrisburg, Huntington, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Knoxville, Lexington, Little Rock, Louisville, Memphis, Newburgh, Niagara Falls, Norfolk, Ogdensburg, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Owensboro, Peoria, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Portsmouth, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Roanoke, Rochester (NY), San Antonio, San Juan, Sioux Falls, South Bend, Springfield/Branson, State College, Syracuse, Toledo, Traverse City, Tri-Cities (TN), Tulsa|
Seasonal: Albuquerque (begins June 4, 2020), Bismarck, Cleveland, El Paso, Hagerstown, Laredo, McAllen, Moline/Quad Cities, Nashville, Shreveport, Wichita
|Suriname Airways||Seasonal: Georgetown, Paramaribo|
|TUI Airways||Seasonal: Birmingham (UK), Bristol, Doncaster/Sheffield, Edinburgh, Glasgow, LondonGatwick, Manchester (UK), Newcastle upon Tyne|
|TUI fly Netherlands||Amsterdam|
|Domestic Destinations map|
|International Destinations Map|
|4||Grand Rapids, Michigan||55,000||Allegiant|
|5||Asheville, North Carolina||51,000||Allegiant|
Media related to Orlando Sanford International Airport at Wikimedia Commons