December 20, 2014

Miami-Dade International Airport

Terminal Illness?

David Villano | 3/1/2006
Times are tough at Miami International Airport: Traffic is declining, costs are sky-high, customer service complaints are up, construction overruns are common and the airport has gained a reputation as one of the least passenger-friendly in the country.

Miami International Airport

Frustrated business leaders, citing a history of mismanagement and corruption, recommend creating an independent oversight authority to shield construction and service contracts from politics. County commissioners have roundly refused.

"What we really need to do is change the culture here. That's our focus," says aviation director José Abreu, sidestepping the independent authority debate. "We now have the checks and balances that we lacked before."

Abreu, who has occupied one of the county's hottest seats for less than a year, is banking on two state-of-the-art terminals to change the airport's fortunes. Both are over budget and behind schedule but once completed (in September and in 2009), the $2.3-billion expansion will allow the airport to court the low-cost carriers that are fueling airline growth. "We'll be able to offer efficiencies that our competitors may not be able to match," says Abreu.

It's an expensive gamble. Landing fees at MIA, driven up by heavy debt service, are already among the nation's priciest, more than four times higher than those at fast-growing Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. And some industry insiders say MIA's fees may go higher still if it struggles to find airlines to fill its new terminals, as some predict.

But with Fort Lauderdale's airport virtually maxed out, MIA's expansion plans may pay off. "We're in a position to double our capacity. Our airfield can handle it, and our terminals will be able to handle it," says Abreu. "I don't think any other airport in the country is able to say that."

Tags: Miami-Dade

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single ditgital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Benefits management trends in Florida
Benefits management trends in Florida

David Faulkenberry, president, FBMC Benefits Management, explains what benefits most employers want to offer staff and what impact the ACA has had on public sector clients so far.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

How do you feel about the historic decision to remodel US-Cuba relations?

  • Well, it's about time!
  • I'm cautiously optimistic...
  • I'm skeptical about this at best...
  • Not in favor at all: Keep the embargo strong!

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe