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MIA’s place in history on National Aviation Day

In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed August 19 as National Aviation Day to commemorate the birthday of Orville Wright, who successfully piloted the world’s first airplane with aircraft controls for steering. Wright made that first flight in 12 seconds and 120 feet in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903.

Twenty-five years after that historic first flight, Miami International Airport opened for business on September 15, 1928, with its first departure – a 157-mile trip to Key West by Pan Am Airways loaded with 340 pounds of mail and two passengers. In its first year, MIA became the busiest port of entry by air in the U.S., handling up to 25 flights per day with one small terminal building, two hangars, and two runways.

Both MIA and the aviation industry have come a long way since those early days of flight. MIA is still America’s busiest port of entry by air for international passengers and freight nearly 94 years after its birth, but it now averages 1,184 flights per day serving 159 passenger routes and 99 all-cargo routes around the globe. In fact, with 387,973 flights in 2021, MIA was the 9th-busiest airport in the world for aircraft movements – a giant leap from 24th in 2020 and 30th in 2019.

On this National Aviation Day, you can learn more about the latest chapter in the history of America’s busiest international airport with MIA’s 2021 Annual Report.