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Miami International Airport
Miami International Airport (MIA), previously known as Wilcox Field, is the major airport in Miami metropolitan region, serving 17,500,096 passengers annually. Spread across 3230 acres, it is the state’s busiest airport by total aircraft operations and cargo traffic and the second-busiest airport by total passenger traffic.
It is the principal airport for the Southeastern US, with long-haul flights passenger and cargo flights to the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
History & Overview
The first airport on the location of MIA, known as Miami City Airport, opened in the 1920s. In 1928, Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) established Pan American Field, an upgraded facility adjacent to City Airport, featuring a single hangar.
The airport served as the hub for Pan Am’s international flights to Cuba until the operation was abandoned in the mid-1930s. In the years following World War II, the Pan American Field was acquired from Pan Am by the city. Nonstop flights started in late 1946 to Chicago and Newark in northeast New Jersey.
However, it wasn’t until January 1962 that Nonstops reached the western United States beyond St. Louis and New Orleans. In 1970, the first nonstop flights from the Americas to Europe took off. Since then, MIA has never had a dull day.
Today, Miami International Airport is the third largest hub for American Airlines and its principal access to Latin America and the Caribbean. It also acts as a hub for cargo and passenger operations for LATAM, Avianca, and Frontier Airlines.
Miami International Airport is one of the USA’s most significant and strategically placed airports. Here are some quick facts and stats about MIA that highlight the importance of this airport.
- In 2021, MIA surpassed John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City to become the busiest airport for international cargo and passengers in the United States.
- MIA stands ninth in terms of the total number of operations in the USA and the world as of 2021.
- The Florida airport’s previous annual passenger record was 45.9 million in 2019. According to the latest statistics, MIA serviced 25.5 million passengers in the first half of 2022, a rise of 8.5% over the airport’s record-breaking year in 2019.
- MIA is on track to surpass 50 million yearly travelers for the first time in its history, two years after the pandemic reduced global air travel to historic lows.
Future of Miami International Airport
After the pandemic, MIA has recovered faster than any other major US hub, per data from ACI-North America. A recent report placed MIA as the largest US airport with the fastest-growing airline seat capacity in the first quarter of 2022 and as one of just six US airports with positive growth over the same period.
By 2040, MIA is anticipated to handle 77 million passengers and 4 million tons of freight yearly. To address this demand, the Board of County Commissioners of Miami-Dade County has approved a $5 billion plan set to complete by 2035.
Concourse G would be demolished, and the airport’s cargo capacity would be increased as part of the full plan, which also calls for optimizing the existing concourses. The plan also includes the construction of two luxury hotels to enhance the experience for travelers.