Frankly, I’m not sure which is more surprising – that this long-standing feud has finally come to an end, or that it happened so…peacefully.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) had been in a multi-year argument with what was (well, until very recently) called Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB) (but what had previously been called Melbourne International Airport for YEARS). MCO claimed that since the word “Orlando” was in both names, passengers were getting “confused” about which airport they were going to. And since MCO is just a handful of miles from the central Florida tourist area and Melbourne, on the state’s east coast (read: practically right next to the Atlantic Ocean), is about 70 miles from the same, MCO said that was a big deal (we wrote all about the battle, including how another tiny airport, in Sanford FL, was also involved, a few years ago, in this post).
Fast forward to 2019, and MCO decided to sue MLB, claiming that the name “Orlando Melbourne International Airport” is false and deceptive advertising. At the time, we wrote about why we thought the lawsuit was silly.
Since the litigation started in early 2019, we kept checking to see if anything had happened with the lawsuit, but there were no updates for the general public to see.
And now there finally is.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, MCO was willing to settle the lawsuit back in mid-March, if MLB was willing to flip their name. So instead of being Orlando Melbourne International Airport, they’d be Melbourne Orlando International Airport.
Because that makes all the difference in the world, I guess?
Actually, it’s a bit more than the name flip. Besides that, the Melbourne Airport Authority also had to agree to a specific list of terms wherein Melbourne airport officials would not:
- State that MLB is in Orlando.
- Imply that MLB is closer to Orlando than it actually is.
- Make reference to MLB being located in, close to or otherwise refer to “beachside Orlando,” as if it were a recognized geographic designation.
- State that Melbourne Beach is the closest beach to Orlando.
- Use maps or images that purport to show the distance to Orlando that have the display range “zoomed” in to conceal the distance to Orlando.
Apparently, MCO wasn’t thrilled with this ending (they’d still prefer Melbourne got rid of the “Orlando” part of the name, period), but they also didn’t want to continue with the cost of a lawsuit while they’re still reeling from a year of lackluster attendance at their own airport.
As per the Sentinel: “Litigation is an uncertain and costly exercise. A jury trial in this matter imposed risks on both sides,” said Phil Brown, chief executive officer of Orlando’s airport authority in a memo to authority members. “No matter the outcome or likelihood of success, a trial would have imposed immense costs at this unique economic time.”
Anyway, after the tentative agreement, MLB scheduled a special meeting in March 2021 to discuss the settlement (Note: link is to a PDF) with their lawyers. And then, as of May 26, 2021, the Melbourne Airport Authority Board Meeting officially agreed to the name change (Note: that link is also a PDF file):
Item A-3Recommendation to Approve Resolution 9-21 Formally Changing the Official Name of the “Melbourne International Airport” A/K/A the “Orlando Melbourne International Airport” (IATA: MLB, ICAO: KMLB, FAA: MLB) to “Melbourne Orlando International Airport”.
As part of the settlement agreement with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority as approved by the Melbourne Airport Authority Board at its March 24, 2021 Special Meeting, it was agreed to by both parties that the Melbourne Airport Authority will change the name of the Airport to Melbourne Orlando International Airport.
Staff recommends approval of Resolution 9-21 Changing the OfficialName from the “Melbourne International Airport” A/K/A the “Orlando Melbourne International Airport”to “Melbourne Orlando International Airport”and authorization for the Chairman to execute said Resolution on behalf of the Authority.
And then, all of a sudden, without any announcement or fanfare, their web page had a small change. They went from this:
Their social media platforms showed similar changes, and I’m sure their on-site signage will be updated soon, as well.
And all was right with the world (as MCO sees it, anyway).
R.I.P., Orlando Melbourne International Airport.
Long live Melbourne Orlando International Airport!
Feature Photo: MLB/FB
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary