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Front Page » Transportation » Miami International Airport direct Asia flights in works

Miami International Airport direct Asia flights in works

Written by on December 18, 2018
Miami International Airport direct Asia flights in works

More than a year after Miami-Dade Aviation claimed Miami International Airport was “about two years” from a establishing direct flights to Asia, little progress has been made, according to Chris Mangos, county aviation marketing director.

And regarding the continent’s biggest nation, he said, the situation has worsened.

“[With] China, things have gotten a little more difficult,” he said. “There are terms of our [bilateral agreement] the US is claiming that China is not adhering to, and it has brought the two countries to an impasse. Until [those] accusations are straightened out, it’s highly doubtful we’re going to see any additional service into the United States by carriers.”

Miami International Airport and Asia exchange nearly 100,000 tons of cargo annually – a $5.2 billion market in 2017 – and Miami remains the busiest US market for leisure and business travel from Asia without nonstop passenger service, an independent study by Sabre Airvision Market Intelligence states.

Poor standings with China, Mr. Mangos said, have bled over into air arrangements with the neighboring Taiwan, whose EVA Air and China Airlines depend on travelers from the mainland.

“China firmly controls the number of cities and people that travel through the Taiwan hub,” he said.

Travelers between Taiwan and Miami connect through John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, where there is often a layover that further lengthens an already protracted trip.

“[Between] Taiwan [and] New York [it’s] almost 16 hours,” said David K.C. Chien, director general of the Republic of China’s Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami. “You have to stay overnight, [which adds] another several hours. Then from New York to Miami it’s almost three hours. Time is money, and faster times will increase incentives for Asian [travelers].”

A direct 17.5-hour flight between Miami and Taipei is possible, as evidenced in June 2017 when Miami International Airport welcomed Taiwan President Tsia Ing-wen.

But regular flights would require “payload restrictions” limiting the number of seats sold, as cargo and passenger weight would need to be reduced to complete the 8,628-mile trip.

“If cargo is at a minimum and you have ‘x’ number of seats you cannot sell, you’re already not starting off on the right foot,” Mr. Chien said.

The outlook is more optimistic for establishing a nonstop link with Japan.

Japan’s All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines use the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, an aircraft whose “incredible range” can easily complete the roughly 14-hour trip, Mr. Mangos said.

“My best guess – and we’re hoping to sit down with them in January, if all goes well – is we’ll probably get a commitment from them [the] second or third quarter of 2019 [for] service a year later – maybe [halfway] or two-quarters through 2020,” he said. “It would be a good catch for us.”

As it would be for Japan, which would benefit from a closer connection to Latin America, said Kenji Hirata, Japan’s consul general in Miami.

“Direct flights between Japan and Miami… contribute to business and tourism between Japan and South Florida [and] between East Asia and Latin America,” he said.

And with Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympics, he said, “it is good timing.”

2 Responses to Miami International Airport direct Asia flights in works

  1. R. Rodney Howell, M. D.

    December 19, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Folks, My professional work takes me to Asia from Miami several times a year, and it is a hassle. In 2018, I went to Schenzen, China (via Hong Kong, right next door), Hanoi, and finally Hong Kong last month. My most recent trip to Hong Kong was on Cathay Pacific via Boston (return ORD) which was very long with the connections. Last year I also went from MIA to Brazil, Paris, and Bratislava, Slovakia. The latter flights were well connected, and contrast sharply with the Asia flights. On all my Asia flights (for Hanoi I flew thru Tokyo) I saw folks on my Asia flights I saw folks from Miami connecting to Asia.

    MIA needs to simply get these Asia flights going from Miami. And of course the 787 which can do it is the way to go.

  2. John Dohm

    December 20, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    Miami’s business community continues to welcome non-stop flights between Miami and Japan with open arms. This will benefit us economically, strategically and culturally by expanding our already exemplary diversity. As a nearly seventy-year resident of South Florida, and Miami-Dede in particular, I am immensely proud of what we have become and thrilled by our future and potential.

    To our elected leaders and department heads: please make this happen!