Miami International Airport served nearly 44.6 million travelers, a new record – up by 234,000 over 2015. This was the airport’s seventh-consecutive year of passenger growth.
MIA was also confirmed as the busiest U.S. airport for international freight, and broke its 2015 record for annual freight traffic, growing 0.37 percent to 2.18 million tons in 2016, according to final audited statistics from the Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD).
MIA’s passenger growth came despite a large downturn in travel between MIA and top South American markets with struggling economies. Travel to the Miami area was also affected by the presence of the Zika virus in South Florida. Nevertheless, annual passenger traffic increased by a little more than half a percent. While travel between MIA and Brazil alone – the airport’s top international market – fell by 600,000 passengers in 2016, increases in other countries and domestically kept the global gateway on an upward trend.
“We had a 30% decrease from our busiest international market, and we still ended 2016 better than 2015,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González. “With sustained growth by hub carrier American Airlines, more international carriers on the way, and new business opportunities for our cargo airlines, we expect another prosperous year in 2017.”
The airport launched 10 new entrant airlines in 2016: AeroUnion, Dominican Wings; Eurowings; KF Cargo; Northern Air Cargo; Pan American World Airways Dominicana; Scandinavian Airlines; Silver Airways; Surinam Airways; and 21 Air. MIA is now home to 109 carriers, the most of any U.S. airport. MIA also welcomed six new international nonstop routes: Bimini, Bahamas; Cologne, Germany; Copenhagen, Denmark; Oslo, Norway; Paramaribo, Suriname; and Varadero, Cuba.
MIA will add four more carriers in 2017, all of which will serve international destinations.