Miami International Airport passenger count rose 3.7% in 2007
By Lou Ortiz
For the fourth year in a row, Miami International Airport has made gains in the number of domestic and international passengers passing through the facility, with a combined total of 33.7 million in 2007.
The last time the airport failed to see any gains in domestic and international passengers was in 2003, when it posted an overall decline in both categories of minus 1.55%, Miami-Dade County Aviation Department statistics show.
Since then the airport, which now ranks No. 3 in international passengers among US airports, has made steady gains in the domestic and overseas markets. New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport is No.1 in international passengers followed by Los Angeles.
In 2007, the number of Miami international passengers was up 5.52% over the prior year, totaling 15,541,000, statistics show. Domestically, the airport posted a 2.21% increase, amounting to 18,199,416 passengers.
The combined totals for 2007 resulted in a 3.71% increase over 2006, statistics show. Miami ranks 15th in the total number of passengers among US airports.
"We're holding our own everywhere," said Bunny Schreiber, an aviation cargo specialist at the county department for 15 years.
Since 2003, the county has embarked on an ambitious capital improvement program, totaling more than $6 billion.
Last year, the airport opened its new $1.1 billion South Terminal, with 15 gates and 168 ticket counters. Expansion of the North Terminal by 2010 is expected to increase the number of total gates to 130, with 100 for international passengers and 30 for domestic fliers. The number of ticket counters will increase to 556.
The airport and related industries directly or indirectly account for 272,400 jobs in the local economy, or one out of 4.1 jobs, according the county department's Web site. Its annual economic impact, along with the county's general aviation airports, totals $25.6 billion.