Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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Miami vies for flights to Asia

March 26, 2015

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Miami International Airport has always been thought of as a gateway to Central and South America. But it is stepping up its efforts to bring in direct passenger service to Asia.

While the airport has weekly cargo service from Seoul, South Korea-based Asiana Airlines, Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific, Taipei’s China Airlines and Korean Air Cargo, it has never had direct passenger service, said spokesman Greg Chin.

Emilio T. González, director of Miami-Dade Aviation Director (MDAD) recently traveled to Taipei, Taiwan, for a series of one-on-one meetings with key Asian airline executives and government officials to discuss service to his airport.

The visit to Taipei is part of an ongoing effort by the airport to establish Miami-Asia passenger travel connection, which is a major part of Miami International’s strategic development plans. It comes at a time when Asian interest and investment in Miami are growing, according to the airport.

Demographics are a big reason. By 2030, 66 percent of the global middle class will be in the Asia-Pacific region. “Because of substantial Asian business investment and demand for Asian air service in Miami, a major component of our strategic route development plan is to target destinations throughout the Far East for new air service,” said Chin.

A report from Boeing predicts continued economic growth in the region in the next 20 years, with GDP averaging 4.4 percent gains per year.

“As income levels rise, Asia Pacific is set to become the largest air travel market in the world. In 2033, approximately 48 percent of global traffic will be to, from, or within the region,” the Boeing report said. “More than 100 million new passengers are projected to enter the market annually. By way of perspective, London Heathrow handles 70 million passengers and Atlanta 95 million annually.”

For story ideas, check to see what your local airport is doing to attract Asian carriers. You might also check in with the local economic development agency and the convention and visitors bureau to see what efforts are being created to bring in new air service.

STORY IDEAS

Miami International Airport’s Air Service Incentive Program

Boeing Asia Pacific Market Report

Association of Asia Pacific Airlines

Airports Council International-Asia Pacific

FAA’s Air Carrier Incentive Program

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