Miami International Airport passed the 45-million-passenger milestone for the first time ever in 2018, serving nearly one million more travelers than the previous year.
The busiest U.S. airport for international freight also set a new record of 2.3 million tons of freight, adding 60,000 tons to the 2017 total.
MIA served nearly 21.9 million international passengers for the year — up 403,380 from 2017 — and more than 23.1 million domestic travelers in 2018, compared to 22.6 million the previous year.
“Congratulations to the MIA team for completing another successful year and for reaching the historic milestone of 45 million passengers,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said. “As our county’s largest economic engine, MIA’s growth has the largest impact on business revenue and job creation in our community.”
Hub carrier American Airlines launched new international routes to Bonaire, Netherland Antilles on June 20; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Dec. 15; Pereira, Colombia, and Georgetown, Guyana on Dec. 20, as well as new and increased service to 11 domestic destinations.
MIA also added four new passenger airlines to its roster: Air Italy launched four weekly flights to Milan in June; Brazilian low-cost carrier GOL began daily flights to Brasilia and Fortaleza in November; Sunwing Airlines began 10 weekly flights to Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto and Ottawa in Canada on Dec. 1, and Flair began weekly service to Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto in Canada on Dec. 15. Existing carriers Viva Air began three weekly flights to Santa Marta, Colombia on Dec. 18, and United Airlines began daily Washington Dulles service on Dec. 19.
Three new cargo carriers launched MIA in 2018 as well: Southern Air began weekly all-cargo service to Hong Kong in April; Ethiopian Airlines launched two weekly freighter flights to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa in August, creating the first-ever cargo-only route between the African continent and MIA, and Amazon Air launched double-daily freighter service in October to destinations across the U.S.
“We are extremely encouraged by the substantial gains made at MIA last year, from both our passenger and cargo operations,” said Lester Sola, MIA director and CEO. “With more new international service launches coming soon, we are expecting another strong year of growth.”
Four international carriers have scheduled entries into the Miami market in 2019: Low-cost carrier Norwegian will begin first-ever service at MIA on Mar. 31 to London Gatwick Airport; Moroccan national carrier and four-star airline Royal Air Maroc will launch the first-ever Miami-Casablanca route on Apr. 3 — MIA’s first passenger flights to Africa since the year 2000 and Florida’s only nonstop service to the continent; LOT Polish Airlines will begin four weekly flights to Warsaw on June 1 — MIA’s first service to Poland and the only nonstop route between Florida and Eastern Europe, and French airline Corsair will launch service to Paris Orly Airport on June 10, with four weekly flights.