In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Aug. 19 as National Aviation Day. The day coincides with the birthday of Orville Wright, who in 1903 piloted the Wright Flyer — the world’s first successful airplane built by Wright and his brother Wilbur.
Today, there may be no single invention that has changed our world more than air travel. Aviation connects people and places across the globe like nothing else, making travel and tourism a $7.6 trillion industry and transporting $18.5 trillion in trade merchandise annually. Closer to home, aviation is easily our county’s largest economic driver, with Miami International Airport and its general aviation airports — under the leadership of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and the County Commission — responsible is for $33.7 billion in business revenue and one out of every four local jobs.
Following a year that saw MIA serve a record-breaking 44.3 million passengers and become the 10th busiest airport in the U.S. last year, the historic Gateway of the Americas continues its evolution into a truly global hub.
In addition to record flights to providing more flights Latin America and the Caribbean, than any other U.S. airport, MIA now directly connects Miami-Dade County to 17 destinations in Europe, including the capital of the European Union (Brussels, Belgium) Doha, Qatar the fast-growing international hub to Asia, Africa and India and Istanbul, Turkey, the gateway city between Europe and Asia.
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In September, MIA will add to its global network scheduled service to Oslo, Norway and Copenhagen, Denmark. In the last four months of 2016, we also will welcome six new airlines to our current roster of 102 passenger and cargo airlines — the most of any U.S. airport.
America’s busiest international freight airport also is expanding its cargo network. MIA and Brussels Airport, the first two airports in the world designated as pharmaceutical freight hubs by international trade association IATA, this year founded the first alliance of the world’s top “pharma airports.”
Pharma cargo transported through MIA has increased in value by 62 percent since 2010 to nearly $3 billion in 2015, and the Pharma.aero alliance, along with our extensive security and infrastructure upgrades, will help MIA gain even greater leverage in the $300 billion global pharma industry.
One can only imagine how the Wright Brothers or President Roosevelt would respond if they were to see the value aviation holds in our world, in our country, or simply in our community.
In their honor, and for all the customers we serve, MIA celebrates National Aviation Day.
Emilio T. González,