MIA winter travel forecast: Flurries of new passengers
New travel policies and airline expansions expected to boost travel
The chances of snow in Miami this winter for the first time in 44 years are still next to zero, but one forecast is nearly certain: new U.S. travel policies and scheduled airline expansions will bring flurries of new passengers to Miami International Airport in the fourth quarter of 2021.
MIA has been the busiest U.S. airport for international passengers this year, with 7.7 million of its 22.8 million total passengers through August traveling internationally. Its international traffic is expected to jump considerably in November when the U.S. government begins to allow vaccinated non-U.S. citizens from at least 39 previously restricted countries to enter the country for the first time since early 2020. Six of those countries were among MIA’s 20 busiest international markets in 2019. While domestic travel at MIA is down only five percent through August compared to 2019, international travel has been down 50 percent due in large part to the U.S. travel restrictions that are soon to be lowered. According to published airline schedules, departing seat capacity at MIA from October to December 2021 is already 10.1 percent above its 2019 level.
Thanks to more vaccine availability around the world and the travel measures being taken by our federal government, our tourism industry and local economy can now enter a new and exciting chapter in our recovery from the pandemic. International travel at MIA is growing again toward pre-pandemic levels. This will mean more visitors to our local businesses and more job creation, which is fantastic news. I look forward to seeing a busy winter travel season in Miami-Dade County.
Several airline service expansions this fall are also expected to boost passenger numbers at MIA. American Airlines will add two new international destinations and six new domestic routes at MIA in November and December. With those eight new routes and other frequency increases, American will offer more than 130 nonstop destinations and 340 peak daily flights from MIA by the end of the year - the most of any carrier. In October and November, Spirit Airlines will make its debut at MIA with 31 nonstop routes, including 12 international and 19 domestic destinations. In November, Frontier Airlines will launch nine new nonstop Miami routes, including plans to begin its first-ever service to Aruba and service to the Turks & Caicos, for a total of 41 nonstop domestic and international destinations served from MIA.
Just last month, MIA was reaccredited by the Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Health Accreditation program and was ranked best mega airport in North America for passenger satisfaction, which demonstrates that we are prepared and ready to once again receive the volume of international travelers we were welcoming before the pandemic began. MIA is proud to work hand in hand with our airline and federal partners to continue serving as our nation’s busiest international gateway during the upcoming winter travel season and beyond.