By: Ismael Rodriguez
Miami Beach hosted the 48th annual Florida Airports Council Conference this past week, where industry leaders announced plans to grow Miami International Airport to accommodate the state’s booming passenger traffic.
The decision to expand comes from statistics that show Florida has not only grown its aviation sector substantially, but it now ranks as the second busiest state in the nation for passenger traffic, according to a Federal Aviation Administration report released last month.
Emilio Gonzalez, director and chief of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, said at the event that Miami International Airport had its seventh consecutive year of growth last year, attracting 22 new cargo carriers and welcoming 32 new routes.
In addition to the new cargo carriers and routes, Miami International Airport currently provides 80 nonstop flights to Latin America and the Caribbean, 25 flights to Europe, two flights to the Middle East and four cargo carriers to Asia.
“At MIA, international is our middle name… we had $57 billion of international imports and exports last year,” Gonzalez told the press. “$44.6 million passengers went through our airport last year, and about half of those were international.”
But the rapid growth also requires hasty improvisations to accommodate and grow the airport. Gonzalez told the press that to support the booming business, MIA is to allocate over $1 billion in infrastructure to refurbish and rebuild cargo buildings.
According to another report from Fitch Ratings, Miami International Airport currently ranks in the top two positions for U.S. airports in terms of nonstop international destinations and international air cargo tonnage.
The report also stated that MIA’s long-term enplanement activity continues to demonstrate growth with an increase of 3.6% in fiscal 2016 to over 22 million enplanements.
“The rating reflects the airport’s strong position in the South Florida market for both domestic and international air service,” a Fitch representative told the press. “Miami stands out as one of the nation’s strongest international gateway airports with a dominant position for Latin American and Caribbean air services.”
More announcements involving the growth and improvements of Miami International Airport will be voiced in the coming months, according to what Gonzalez told the press to conclude the event.