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Miami International Airport, Miami, USA

May 9th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Miami International Airport (IATA: MIA, ICAO: KMIA, FAA LID: MIA) is a public airport located eight miles (13 km) northwest of the central business district of Miami, in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. It is between the cities of Miami, Hialeah, Doral, and Miami Springs, the village of Virginia Gardens, and the unincorporated community of Fountainbleau.

The airport is a hub for passenger airlines American Airlines, American Eagle, and Executive Air; cargo airlines Arrow Air, Fine Air, UPS and Federal Express; and charter airline Miami Air. Miami International Airport handles flights to cities throughout the Americas and Europe, and is South Florida's main airport for long-haul international flights, although most domestic and low-cost carriers use Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Palm Beach International Airport, which charge significantly lower fees to tenant airlines.

Miami is the premier gateway between the US and Latin America, and, along with Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, Miami is one of the largest aerial gateways into the American South, owing to its proximity to tourist attractions, local economic growth, large local Latin American and European populations, and strategic location to handle connecting traffic between North America, Latin America, and Europe. In the past, it has been a hub for Eastern Air Lines, Air Florida, the original National Airlines, the original Pan Am, and Iberia. As an international gateway to the United States it ranks third, behind New York-JFK in New York City and LAX in Los Angeles.

In 2006, 32,533,974 passengers traveled through the airport, the highest number since 9/11.

MIA was opened to flights in 1928 as Pan American Field, the operating base of Pan American Airways Corporation, on the north side of the modern airport property. After Pan Am acquired the New York, Rio, and Buenos Aires Line, it shifted most of its operations to the Dinner Key seaplane base, leaving Pan Am Field largely unused until Eastern Air Lines began flying there in 1934, followed by National Airlines in 1937.

In 1945, the City of Miami established a Port Authority and raised bond revenue to purchase the airport, now known as 36th Street Airport, from Pan Am. It was merged with an adjoining Army airfield in 1949 and expanded further in 1951. The old terminal on 36th Street was closed in 1959 when the modern passenger terminal (since greatly expanded) opened for service.

Pan Am and Eastern remained Miami's main tenants until 1991, when both carriers went bankrupt. Their hubs at MIA were taken over by United Airlines and American Airlines. United slowly trimmed down its Miami operation through the 1990s, and eventually shut down its crew base and other operations facilities in Miami. At the same time, American expanded its presence at the airport, winning new routes to Latin America and transferring employees and equipment from its failed domestic hubs at Nashville and Raleigh-Durham. Today, Miami is American's largest air freight hub, and forms the main connecting point in the airline's north-south oriented international route network.

For many years, the airport was a common connecting point for passengers traveling from Europe to Latin America. However, stricter visa requirements for aliens in transit (a result, in part, of the September 11, 2001 attacks) have lessened MIA's role as an intercontinental connecting hub. In 2004, Iberia Airlines ended its hub operation in Miami, opting instead to run more direct flights from Spain to Central America. However Air France still has flights to Port-au-Prince using smaller A320 and ERJ-145 aircraft.

Gulfstream International Airlines operates regular flights between MIA and several airports in Cuba, the one of the few direct airlink between the two nations. However, these flights must be booked through agents with special authorization from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, and are only generally available to government officials, journalists, researchers, professionals attending conferences, or expatriates visiting Cuban family.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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