Category Archives: Miami International Airport (MIA)

J.D. Power Survey: Labor shortage, rising passenger volumes drag on airport traveler satisfaction

J.D. Power issued the results of their latest airport surveys:

With weekly airline passenger volumes now reaching 75% or more of pre-pandemic levels, travelers have officially come back to North American airports. Unfortunately, according to the J.D. Power 2021 North America Airport Satisfaction Study,SM released today, many of them are arriving to find food, beverage and retail options severely limited as airports struggle with a persistent labor shortage. While airports have maintained historically strong customer satisfaction scores throughout the pandemic, reaching an overall record high of 802 (on a 1,000-point scale) this year, the combination of steadily rising passenger volumes and shuttered coffee shops and eateries has caused satisfaction scores to decline significantly through the second and third quarters of 2021 (last half of the study).

“Airport customer satisfaction reached all-time highs when passenger volumes were severely suppressed by the pandemic, but as leisure travel rebounded sharply throughout the spring and summer of 2021, we saw an expected downturn in satisfaction,” said Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power. “Ultimately, the data conveys changing expectations among travelers. Early in the pandemic, passengers were satisfied with any shop or restaurant being open, but they now expect full service at the airport.”

Following are some key findings of the 2021 study:

  • Record high satisfaction scores belie growing challenges: Overall customer satisfaction with North American airports rises to a record high this year, but much of that improvement was achieved during waves 1 and 2 of the study (July 2020 to January 2021), when passenger volumes were still just a fraction of the historical norm. Over the course of the year, as volumes picked up, satisfaction scores during waves 3 and 4 of the study (January 2021 to July 2021) steadily declined.
  • Labor shortage translates to lower scores for food, beverage and retail: Food, beverage and retail services are the keys that turn a good airport experience into a great experience. Award recipient airports Miami International and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International also score highest in the factor for food, beverage and retail in their respective segments. The effects of the labor shortage throughout North America have resulted in several airport dining and retail locations closing, a fact that has disproportionally affected medium-sized airports.
  • Major airport construction projects are a swing factor: Major airport construction projects at North American airports—which include traffic cones, redirected traffic and heavy equipment clogging airport roadways and parking areas—greatly affect customer satisfaction scores. Planned airport construction projects in North America, which total in the hundreds of billions of dollars, disrupt travelers and diminish satisfaction, but completion of those construction projects usually leads to significant improvement in satisfaction scores.

Study Rankings

Miami International Airport ranks highest in passenger satisfaction among mega airports with a score of 828. John F. Kennedy International Airport (817) ranks second and Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (815) ranks third.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport ranks highest among large airports with a score of 844. Tampa International Airport (843) ranks second and Raleigh-Durham International Airport (841) ranks third.

Individual airports in the medium airports category were not award eligible this year due to reduced passenger volumes.

The 2021 North America Airport Satisfaction Study measures overall traveler satisfaction with mega, large and medium North American airports by examining six factors (in order of importance): terminal facilities; airport arrival/departure; baggage claim; security check; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail. Mega airports are those with 33 million or more passengers per year; large airports with 10 to 32.9 million passengers per year; and medium airports with 4.5 to 9.9 million passengers per year.

Now in its 16th year, the study is based on 13,225 completed surveys from U.S. or Canadian residents who traveled through at least one U.S. or Canadian airport and covers both departure and arrival experiences (including connecting airports) during the past 30 days. Travelers evaluated either a departing or arriving airport from their round-trip experience. The study was fielded from August 2020 through July 2021.

MIA is first U.S. airport to test COVID-19 detector dogs

Miami International Airport has made this announcement:

As part of its ongoing effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19, Miami International Airport is now getting help from some furry new friends: detector dogs specially trained with protocols created by the Global Forensic and Justice Center (GFJC) at Florida International University (FIU).

Thanks to a resolution sponsored by Miami-Dade County Commissioner Kionne L. McGhee and approved by the Board of County Commissioners in March 2021, the Miami-Dade Aviation Department is partnering with the GFJC at FIU and American Airlines to host a 30-day COVID-19 detector dog pilot program at MIA, making it the first U.S. airport to test COVID-sniffing canines. The dogs are deployed at an employee security checkpoint.

Photo: From left to right: Dr. Kenneth G. Furton, FIU Provost and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Chairman, Board of County Commissioners, Miami-Dade County; Ralph Cutie, MIA Interim Director; Raquel Regalado, Commissioner, Board of County Commissioners; Kionne L. McGhee, Commissioner, Board of County Commissioners; and, Morris Copeland, Chief Community Services Officer, Miami-Dade County.

“This pandemic has pushed us to innovate to stop the spread. I applaud Commissioner McGhee and the County Commission for thinking outside the box with this initiative,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “We’re proud to do everything we can to protect our residents. I look forward to seeing how the airport tests their skills and expanding the pilot program to other County facilities.”

Detector dogs have the potential for immediate detection and response to the virus in public spaces like airports. After hundreds of training sessions at FIU’s Modesto Maidique Campus in Miami this year, the detector dogs achieved accuracy rates from 96 to 99 percent for detecting COVID-19 in published peer-reviewed, double-blind trials. After the pilot program ends in September, FIU will continue to work on the accuracy and specificity, which will assist in COVID variant detection, of the canine following scientifically validated methods.

“COVID-19 has reshaped the world and lifestyle we are used to,” said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Kionne L. McGhee. “It has forced our businesses to become innovative in how they do business. It has forced our faith-based organizations and schools to bring forth a different approach to how congregations and students are taught. Even our families have had to readjust and become more creative in how they socialize and celebrate special occasions. Therefore, we must not stay behind in our approach to fighting the spread of this virus. I am proud to be the sponsor of a program that will bring about crucial life-saving benefits for our communities.”

The two dogs in the pilot program at MIA – Cobra (a Belgian Malinois) and One Betta (a Dutch Shepherd) – have been trained to alert to the scent of COVID-19. The virus causes metabolic changes in a person that result in the production of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The VOCs are excreted by a person’s breath and sweat, producing a scent that trained dogs can detect. The metabolic changes are common for all people, regardless of their individual scents. If a dog indicates an individual is carrying the odor of the virus, that person is directed to get a rapid COVID test.

“Being able to apply decades of research in this way, to provide an additional layer of protection to airport employees at Miami International Airport, it’s humbling,” says Dr. Kenneth G. Furton, FIU Provost and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “These dogs are another valuable tool we can leverage to help us live with this ongoing pandemic.”

Numerous studies have demonstrated that detector dogs are one of the most reliable tools available to identify substances based on the odors they emit. Previous studies include demonstrating that detector dogs can reliably detect persons that have diseases, such as diabetes, epilepsy, and certain cancers. Detector dogs have long been used by federal and local agencies at MIA to detect prohibited currency, drugs, explosives, and agriculture.

“The COVID-19 detector dog pilot program is the latest effort by MIA to serve as a test bed for new innovations in safety and security,” said MIA Interim Director Ralph Cutié. “We are proud to do our part in the fight against COVID-19, and we hope to see this pilot program potentially benefit the rest of Miami-Dade County and airports across the country.”

MIA sets a new record for cargo shipments in 2020

Miami International Airport set a new record for cargo volume in 2020 with 2.32 million tons, which was 57,382 more tons than its total in 2019.

MIA finished the year exceptionally strong with an average of 210,000 tons in October, November and December, making them the airport’s busiest months ever. MIA also ended 2020 with a record 59,000 cargo-only flights, which was nearly 8,000 more flights than in 2019.

As the busiest U.S. airport for international freight and perishable products, MIA continued to be a global hub for essential supplies and e-commerce throughout the pandemic. MIA was also uniquely prepared to be a leading air cargo hub for the COVID-19 vaccines, thanks to years of experience as the first airport in the Western Hemisphere and only the second in the world to be designated by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as a pharmaceutical freight hub in 2015. In 2020, MIA also won the Asian Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain (AFLAS) award for the Best Airport in North America for Cargo – the third time MIA has received this award in the last five years.

Our record-setting year would not have been possible without the strong partnership we share with each and every airline, federal agency and logistics provider that adapted and maintained their services throughout the pandemic. We are deeply grateful for their ongoing support and look forward to reaching even greater heights together in 2021, as we facilitate more essential trade and commerce across our region and the globe.”
Lester Sola, MIA Director and CEO

MIA wins approval for up to $5 billion in modernization projects

The Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners today adopted a new capital improvement program at Miami International Airport that will fund up to $5 billion in airport-wide modernization projects over the next five to 15 years, paving the way for future growth in passenger and cargo traffic at MIA – projected to reach 77 million travelers and more than four million tons of freight by the year 2040.

“MIA is Miami-Dade County’s leading economic engine and busiest gateway, generating nearly $31 billion in business revenue and welcoming 96 percent of all visitors to our community,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “The goal of this new capital program is for MIA to provide even greater value, convenience and efficiency to our visitors, airline partners and cargo operators.”

The comprehensive program is designed to address all of the airport’s future capacity and operational needs through five sub-programs that include: a redevelopment of Central Terminal concourses E and F; an expanded South Terminal (concourses H and J); renovated Concourse D gates to accommodate additional wide- and narrow-body aircraft, as well as larger regional jets; two new hotels (one which will include a business and conference center with exhibition space) and other miscellaneous landside projects; and expanded aircraft parking positions and warehouses for cargo operations.

The multi-billion-dollar program is the latest in a string of historic milestones for MIA, which celebrated its 90th anniversary last September. In 2018, MIA surpassed 45 million annual passengers for the first time ever – an increase of nearly one million over the previous year. The gateway of the Americas served 21.8 international passengers in 2018 – making it once again the busiest airport in Florida for international travelers and third-busiest U.S. gateway in that category. MIA continues to maintain its ranking as the busiest U.S. airport for international freight as well, setting a new record of 2.3 million total tons of freight in 2018 – up 60,000 tons from its 2017 total.

CBS 4 in Miami to detail the safety upgrades to runway 12-30 at Miami International Airport

MIA Runway 12-30 Upgrades (CBS 4)(LRW)

CBS 4 in Miami is doing a special TV presentation called “The Big X” on the new safety upgrades to the diagonal runway 12-30 at Miami International Airport (MIA). The story runs tonight at 11 pm (2300) local time (EDT) on  channel 4 in Miami. It will also appear on cbsmiami.com after its airing.

Runway 12-30 is on a 528-day rehabilitation project. The project will add LED lights that use much less power and last many years without replacement.

Copyright Photo Above: CBS 4/Brian Andrews.

FAA Airport Diagram for MIA:

MIA FAA Airport Diagram (LRW)

Airport Runway Statistics:

MIA Runway Information (LRW)