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Front Page » Top Stories » International Airport Traffic Seen Rebounding In Year

International Airport Traffic Seen Rebounding In Year

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Written by on January 18, 2001

By Catherine Lackner
Traffic at Miami International Airport is expected to remain strong and regain some of last year’s

lost ground, said Peter Reaveley, the airport’s consultant on international planning and former manager of

route development.

In 1999, 33.9 million passengers passed through Miami International but in 2000 that number dipped to

about 33.6 million, a loss of about 1%.

Final 2000 figures are not in, Mr. Reaveley said, but airport officials are confident their predictions are

correct. Two factors were at work — Y2K fears in January, which slowed domestic travel, and instability in

South America, which dampened international traffic.

"Throughout the year, South America has been very flat," Mr. Reaveley said. "In Colombia, Venezuela,

Ecuador and Argentina political and economic problems held it flat."

In the year ahead, he said, a prediction of 34.3 million passengers is slightly more optimistic.

"I am projecting that passenger traffic will be up 2% due to two factors. The Y2K issue is now behind us

and this January will much be better than January of last year.

"And for the spring, we have a significant increase in European transatlantic routes, which makes Miami a

much better connecting point."

To our south, "the economy in Brazil is recovering nicely. Chile is doing well and will recover during the

year. We’ll have a relatively good year internationally."

The domestic travel picture won’t be quite as bright, he said.

"There will be no change in the number of domestic seats," Mr. Reaveley predicted. "Low-fare, cost-cutting

airlines like Southwest that fly out of Fort Lauderdale are drawing an increasing number of discretionary

travelers up to Broward County."

He said 99% of the state’s international flights still arrive and depart in Miami but Fort Lauderdale is

gaining a foothold for economy travelers.

The exception, he said — Midway Airlines, based in North Carolina, will start four flights weekly from Miami

to Raleigh-Durham with connections to the Northeast, in partnership with American Airlines.

Cargo shipments will remain steady at 1.7 million tons per year, the same level that the airport saw in

1999 and 2000, Mr. Reaveley forecast.

"Exports continue to fall because of political and economic problems in Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador

and Argentina," he said.

"Imports are beginning to rise, however, as countries devalue currencies and exporting to the US becomes

more cost-effective. Brazil, a highly industrialized country, will increase its exports as its economy

recovers."

Domestic cargo operations will get a boost with the opening of new facilities in the next few years for

FedEx and United Parcel Service, Mr. Reaveley said. He said DHL already has a facility at the airport and

one in the office-warehouse district nearby.

"Gradually those companies will dominate Miami’s domestic cargo picture," Mr. Reaveley said.

New transatlantic flights — in planes that carry passengers as well as cargo — are projected to keep the

airport economy healthy, he said.

Air France operates daily 747 service from Miami to Charles DeGaulle Airport in Paris and will add twice

daily flights in March, while British Airways will double its daily 747 service to London’s Heathrow Airport at

about the same time.

"This provides more connections to Europe and the Middle East," Mr. Reaveley said.

Iberia operates 13 flights weekly out of Miami to Madrid and will increase that while Lufthansa will add

Miami-Munich-Vienna service to its current Miami-Frankfort flight schedule in early April.

"This is important because Munich is their second hub, after Frankfort," Mr. Reaveley said.

Northwest Airlines in April will institute four Miami-to-Amsterdam flights daily in a code-sharing

arrangement with KLM.

"KLM has a huge hub in Amsterdam," he said, "with tremendous connections to all of Northern Europe.

"All of these daily and double-daily flights, added to the very wide range of flights we now have, synergizes

and increases the connections available through Miami," Mr. Reaveley said. "That kind of increased air

service is a good thing for international tourism and international trade."

On the South American front, American Airlines in March or April will institute a Miami-Maracaibo route,

while Lan-Chile will fly out of Miami to Guayaquil and Quito daily, he said.

Taca-Peru is now flying directly from Lima to Miami and Tam of Brazil has been awarded the Vasp

international route authority. The airline now flies twice daily from Miami to Sao Paulo "and would like to fly

Miami to Rio de Janeiro, but are waiting for delivery of wide-body aircraft," Mr. Reaveley said. "This is a

very strong airline in Brazil, with a very high reputation."

Varig will begin to increase its service as the Brazilian economy accelerates, he predicted.

"This summer," Mr. Reaveley said, "we can begin to expect the Brazilians back. The economy is picking up

nicely now."

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