After several years of global stagnation, the air cargo industry is experiencing a revival — and Miami International Airport (MIA) is at the forefront of that resurgence.
Freight tonnage at MIA through June is up 4.8 percent — led by an 8.3 percent increase domestically and 4.3 percent growth internationally. Notably, MIA’s growth rate is ahead of the Latin America and Caribbean average. The heightened pace is primarily the result of route expansion beyond the Americas.
Our trade with the Middle East and Mexico has benefited from recent airline expansions. In February, Qatar Airways launched two weekly cargo-only flights from Doha and Miami. In December, Mexican freighter airline AeroUnion began two weekly flights between Mexico City, Mérida and Miami.
In the past 18 months, MIA has added 13 other airlines, including three all-cargo carriers, and three passenger/belly cargo carriers. Chief among our passenger/cargo carriers, of course, is American Airlines. MIA is American’s largest cargo hub worldwide.
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In addition to route expansion, we are diversifying the types of cargo we handle. MIA’s pharmaceutical trade value has grown 140 percent since 2010 to $4.4 billion in 2016 — thanks to our designation as a pharma freight hub. MIA also welcomed Florida’s first ocean-to-air perishables trans-shipment in February.
Later this year, we expect the Commerce Department to approve our Foreign Trade Zone magnet site application, which would allow manufacturers and shippers to lease vacant property at MIA and have tariffs deferred, reduced or eliminated.
With the support of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and the County Commission, these growth initiatives are broadening MIA’s already sizable economic impact in our community.
Emilio T. González,
Aviation Department, Miami