Miami International Airport (MIA) has become one of the USA’s busiest cargo airports and thanks to its key position as a hub for North American-Latin American trade now contributes over 280,000 jobs directly and indirectly to the local economy, or one out of every four jobs in Miami.
Over the past few decades, the airport has built up its niche role as the world’s largest gateway from North America to Latin America and the Caribbean, handling 83% of all air imports from - and 81% of all exports to - these economically vibrant regions of the world. The airport and the nearby smaller general aviation airfields produce an annual economic return of $26.7 billion to the regional economy. The airport is a hub for the distribution of perishable products, hi-tech commodities, telecommunications equipment, textiles, pharmaceuticals and industrial machinery. MIA handles around two million tonnes of freight a year, or 89% of all flowers which are sent by air to the USA, and 73% of all fruit and vegetables flown into the country.
The value of MIA’s total air trade for 2010 was $50.7 billion, or 41% of Florida’s total air and sea trade with the rest of the world.
It is not all one-way traffic. Over 90 airlines use the airport as a transfer hub, providing a vital transhipment point for carriers based in the Americas shipping goods to high growth markets in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and beyond. MIA continues to build new business - in 2011 more new airlines flew into the airport than any other hub in the USA and routes to new Far East destinations are developing rapidly. In 2011, freight shipments between Asia and the airport rose 8.7% over 2010.
The airport’s freight facilities now comprise 17 warehouses, providing over 2.7 million square feet of space, attracting nearly 300 customs brokers, over 1,000 freight forwarders and numerous local and multinational companies specialising in international trade, law, finance, importing and exporting.