Miami International Airport is our community’s leading economic engine, generating business revenue in excess of $33 billion and connecting 40 million passengers to more than 140 destinations across the nation and around the globe each year. Those remarkable figures are the direct result of the efforts of numerous airport partners, none of them bigger — or more vital to MIA’s ongoing success — than American Airlines.
This year, American Airlines is celebrating a significant milestone: The 25th year of its Miami hub. For some in our community, it’s difficult to remember a time when American wasn’t the leading carrier at our global gateway, but AA’s beginnings in Miami were relatively modest: In 1989, the airline operated just 19 daily flights from a handful of gates. Today, American and American Eagle operate about 340 daily flights from MIA’s sparkling 50-gate North Terminal, as well as the Central Terminal. Together, they account for almost 70 percent of the airport’s passengers.
Over the years, as American was steadily developing its impressive Miami hub, MIA was solidifying its standing as the undisputed Gateway of the Americas. It’s no coincidence that these two developments occurred in tandem, and I’m proud to report that the MIA-American partnership is stronger today than ever before. It’s also important to point out that AA’s Miami presence has manifested itself beyond the airfield: American Airlines is a provider of meaningful employment to 11,000 local residents; a generous and engaged corporate citizen; and a critical driver of international trade, tourism and business throughout Greater Miami.
To be sure, American Airlines’ decision all those years ago to develop a Miami hub has left an indelible — and decidedly positive — mark on both our airport and our community. On behalf of Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and the almost 1,200 women and men of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, I congratulate our partners at American Airlines on a quarter century of impressive growth at Miami International Airport and throughout our community.
Emilio T. González, director, Miami-Dade Aviation Department, Miami