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Front Page » Transportation » Japan holds most promise for direct Miami air link soon

Japan holds most promise for direct Miami air link soon

Written by on April 23, 2019
Japan holds most promise for direct Miami air link soon

Miami International Airport officials zeroing in on a daily passenger flight link with Asia say Japan holds the most promise for a direct flight next year.

The Miami International Airport Asia Task Force is to reconvene at the end of summer. The task force, launched in 2016 and comprised of 100-plus business representatives from Miami, will discuss the latest developments of a service to Japan and test the waters via a survey on local travel demand to the region.

The task force weighs each airline and destination by considering three factors:

■First, members study the current size of origin and destination traffic through current connecting flights between Asia and Miami. Japan leads the race for the busiest market for a combination of business and leisure travel, with China lagging behind.

■Second, the task force looks at traffic growth trends.

■Third, the team speculates how the carrier and destination might attract interest for the airport’s destinations to the Caribbean and Latin America.

“One of our goals is to expand and diversify MIA’s route network beyond our north-south connections in the Americas, where we have more flights than any other US airport, and to increase our east-west routes,” Chris Mangos, Miami-Dade Aviation Department Marketing Division director, wrote by email. “We see Asia and Africa as the next frontier in our expansion efforts, especially as new fuel-efficient aircraft have become available that now make those long-haul non-stop flights possible.”

The airport presents an air service incentive program for the carriers it is interested in. Benefits include a two-year landing fee waiver and matching marketing funds to promote the new route.

Mr. Mangos said he believes his team should know by winter if a service to Japan’s capital – a 15-hour journey – will be possible at the start of 2020 or later.

A potential increase in leisure and business travel presents an economic boost for the county. Miami International finds that a once daily, nonstop passenger flight to Tokyo can bring $70 million in annual business revenue.

The journey thus far of a nonstop flight to Asia is filled with turbulence. The airport has narrowed its focus to Japan but started with ten carriers in 2016, all varying in destination. Some airlines thought to be contenders share no confirmation as of yet of a direct flight to Miami. Miami Today contacted All Nippon Airways, the largest airline in Japan and headquartered in Tokyo, which stated:

“ANA continuously researches and monitors markets globally for consideration of future air or cargo service. We do not comment on any specific cities.”     

Japan Airlines, also headquartered in Tokyo and another carrier rumored to be on the shortlist, progresses on its new route launch as of last month linking Seattle and Tokyo. The company did not respond to Miami Today as to whether it is considering a direct flight from Miami.

Mr. Mangos writes that other potential routes to Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai are hampered by impasses in bilateral air service treaties: “The Hong Kong route would only work via a Vancouver stopover, and neither the Hong Kong nor Canadian government has been able to negotiate additional frequencies. The impasse with the US-China bilateral agreement has halted any additional frequencies by Chinese airlines for US routes, which prevents potential launches to MIA from Shanghai or Beijing.”

Direct flights linking to Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai remain of interest to Miami International. Current connecting flights funnel the largest numbers of leisure and business travelers from Asia to Miami. “Airlines serving those markets operate new generation aircraft such as the Boeing B787, B777 and Airbus A350, which are capable of non-stop service to Miami,” Mr. Mangos wrote.

The immediate next step is set. The airport’s task force is to reconvene at the end of summer to study and strategize how to home in on the airport’s first direct flight to Asia, with the hopes of starting flights in early 2020.

7 Responses to Japan holds most promise for direct Miami air link soon

  1. Michael

    April 24, 2019 at 9:58 am

    A direct flight to Asia would be nice however due to our short-sightedness, MIA is being superseded by Orlando. MCO is already building an impressive network in Latin America and because it has, in conjunction with Sanford, superior connections to secondary cities like Peoria and Albuquerque, among others, it has become a more attractive hub than MIA/FLL.

    • Mark

      April 25, 2019 at 1:06 am

      No. There is decent demand to MCO from Latin America, that’s what’s drawing that growth, not connections to Peoria!

    • Mario Dopico

      April 29, 2019 at 5:42 pm

      MCO is good in growth for Latin Americans wanting to visit Disney and Southwest and low budget carriers offering service to secondary cities. The Fact is MIA is great at Cargo service. My company alone would fight for space under the passengers for cargo to Asia. That alone would make the flight profitable. On top of that if its Japan Airlines with one world American Airlines offering connecting service to from the Caribbean and Latin America, then it would be a total win. Right now my company ships Live Caribbean Lobsters to Asia on a daily basis and space is very limited to a few European and cargo airlines.

      • Michael

        April 30, 2019 at 10:50 pm

        Disney provides MCO with a reason to fly there, but that doesn’t detract from MIA which still has the densest network of routes to Latin America, three times Orlando’s population, and more convenient cruise ports.

  2. Grato

    April 25, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Yes, I agree, unfortunately MCO, already overpassed MIA in terms of passengers and their growth doesn’t abate. If MIA doesn’t act up and I mean quickly, it will lose future important non-stop connections.

  3. William P Martin

    April 25, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    Japan Air Lines make the most sense since they are a One World member and Miami is a large One World hub due to American Airlines dominance.

  4. David Ruben

    July 7, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    I along with many associates have been waiting for non-stop or direct service to HKG,or Tokyo with connecting flights to Shenzhen, which is the hub province for manufacturing. It’s short sided that none of the US carriers have jumped in as they promote their spoke & wheel business model. We are forced to fly on Qatar through DOHA , which adds on many hours…but the service provided by Qatar makes it bearable in business class. A foreign carrier is preferable as they provide better service than any of the US carriers. We gave up on United even with its new POLARIS, as the in flight service is deplorable.
    How can we help to get a route implemented.