Today is National Aviation Day in the United States and along with marking the birthday of flying pioneer Orville Wright, it also celebrates an incredible industry that continues to transform our world — and our local community — in decidedly positive ways.
Here in Miami, where our past is inextricably linked to the rise of commercial aviation, it’s fitting that we pause to take stock of just how important the industry remains to both our present and our future.
Miami International Airport, which celebrates its 87th anniversary next month, is the epicenter of aviation activity in South Florida. Officially named Wilcox Field for the man who served as the first Attorney General of the Dade County Port Authority, MIA has evolved from a modest airfield on Northwest 36th Street to a major international air hub.
We now boast a lineup of more than 100 carriers — passenger and cargo — that move in excess of 40 million passengers and two million tons of goods to markets across the globe each year.
Today, MIA is known as the Gateway of the Americas for its unrivaled access to Latin America and the Caribbean, but we’re working diligently to transform our airport into America’s next truly global gateway with direct access to all world regions.
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Each week, more than a thousand visitors from the Middle East and beyond arrive aboard the world’s top-rated carrier, Qatar Airways. Cargo jumbo jets emblazoned with Chinese and Korean logos touch down daily, laden with valuable high-tech goods. Later this year, Four-Star carrier Turkish Airlines begins daily flights between Miami and Istanbul, and new flights to Vienna, Helsinki and Munich are on tap as well. Meanwhile, we are pushing hard for passenger service to Asia and Africa.
It’s safe to say that Miami’s
aviation pioneers would be rightfully impressed by the progress they set in motion nearly a century ago when they began with U.S. Mail flights to Tampa and Jacksonville.
- 38,000 direct jobs for South Florida residents
- 244,000 local jobs supported fully — or in part — by activities at MIA
- $33.4 billion in economic activity
Considering that Miami’s total population was about 130,000 when MIA opened in 1928, it’s remarkable to think that the airport alone supports so many local jobs
It’s precisely these Miami success stories make National Aviation Day well worth celebrating.
With the support of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and County Commissioners, we remain fully committed to driving further progress in aviation and like the trailblazers who came before us, we know that our hometown and our residents are depending on us to succeed.
Emilio T. González, director, Miami-Dade Aviation