Summer is vacation time, and South Florida’s two big airports are providing more nonstop destinations than ever this year.
Airlines operating out of Miami International Airport will fly to almost 150 nonstop destinations this year, most of them international — a new high. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, meanwhile, will serve about 120, more than half of them domestic, including new flights to be added later this year.
“Since I arrived at MIA in April 2013, one of my top priorities has been adding direct routes to areas of the world we have yet to reach, and our efforts are beginning to pay dividends,” said Emilio T. Gonzalez, Miami-Dade Aviation Director. “With each new route, we’re meeting our goal of providing customers with more travel options, connecting our passengers to points on the globe that previously required one or more stops, and strengthening the economy of Miami-Dade County.”
Travelers also will have more options this year as additional airlines join those already operating out of the two airports. For instance, in May XL Airways joined the fleet flying from Miami to Paris, and Norwegian Air Shuttle will start nonstop service out of Fort Lauderdale to London (Gatwick) in July.
The World Cup games in Brazil have spurred travel to that country, which is Miami’s busiest international destination. This year, airlines already serving Brazil added flights to accommodate soccer fans, and TAM started service to Fortaleza, the 11th Brazilian city to be served nonstop from Miami.
To the Caribbean and Latin America, JetBlue added service from Fort Lauderdale in May to Trinidad, Montego Bay (Jamaica) and Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) and will add Cartagena (Colombia) in October. Copa has just begun flying to Panama City (Panama) from the Broward airport in July. From Miami, Inselair started service to Aruba earlier this year.
On the domestic front from Fort Lauderdale, Frontier, which started flying to Cleveland this month, will add Washington Dulles in September. Other new service coming this year: Spirit to New Orleans in August and Houston in September, Silver to Jacksonville in August, JetBlue to Pittsburgh and Las Vegas in October, and Southwest to Dallas Love Field in November.
More flights to Europe are in the works as well as the summer season gets underway. In addition to airlines increasing the number of flights to their existing European destinations, Air Europa has started service to Madrid three times a week. Adding service for winter travelers, Swiss International Airways will increase its service to Zurich to 14 flights weekly Oct. 17.
Finnair will start twice-weekly nonstops to Helsinki Dec. 16. Helsinki will be the 16th European destination served nonstop from Miami.