Miami International Airport reached a new all-time high for annual passenger traffic in 2011 with 38.3 million passengers and an increase of 7.3 percent over 2010, according to recently released statistics from the Miami-Dade Aviation Department. International passengers led the way with a nine-percent increase over 2010 to 18.4 million travelers, while domestic passengers also surged by 5.8 percent to nearly 19.9 million.
Despite projections from industry association Airlines for America, formerly known as Air Transport Association of America, for a one-percent decline in air travel nationwide from December 21 to January 8 ( http://www.airlines.org/Pages/news_12-20-2011.aspx), MIA drew more than 2.2 million passengers during the 21-day travel period for an increase of 8.7 percent. MIA's busier-than-projected travel season helped the airport surpass the 38 million passenger mark for the first time ever on December 30 and also included a new single-day passenger record at MIA - more than 135,000 passengers on January 2.
MIA's growth in 2011 is largely attributed to hub carrier American Airlines, which carried nearly six percent more passengers in fiscal year 2011 and has already recorded in January alone eight of its top 25 days ever at MIA for passenger traffic. MIA's passenger traffic was also boosted by new and expanded service by other carriers, including six new carriers at MIA in 2011: Arkefly; Corsairfly; ExecAir; KLM; TAP Portugal; and VivaAerobus. A scientific study by industry expert Airline Network News and Analysis concluded that MIA was the U.S. airport with the most new airlines in fiscal year 2011 (http://www.anna.aero/2011/10/20/2nd-anna-aero-us-annies).
MIA's total freight shipments grew less than one percent despite a worldwide downturn in air cargo. The airport still matched its all-time record of two million tons of freight, which was first set in 2007 before the global recession. Freight shipments between Asia and MIA were a particular bright spot with an increase of 8.7 percent. After growing from nine weekly flights in 2009 to 18 weekly flights in 2010, Asian cargo service at MIA continued to expand with three weekly flights from Seoul, South Korea by new carrier Asiana Airlines in September. Additionally, Cathay Pacific Airways began using in December for its six weekly freighter flights from Hong Kong the Boeing 747-8, the longest cargo aircraft in the world with 16 percent more cargo capacity than the Boeing 747-400 it used previously.
MIA's four Asian cargo carriers now provide service to hubs in Taipei, Seoul and Hong Kong, with connections to 21 other destinations in China. Final statistics for Asian air trade with MIA in 2011 are expected to show a 23-percent increase in commercial value to nearly $4.3 billion.
For the complete report of MIA's 2011 statistics, click here.