The damage caused by hurricane Irma at Miami airport was less severe than feared. Up until the temporary pause in its traffic, the US gateway for Latin America was on its way to set a new annual record. Now new connections are hoped for.
Only on 9/11, of all days, was there no movement at Miami airport. Irma had the airport firmly in its grip, sweeping in “only” as a category 2 storm across the south of Florida after the hurricane of record-breaking force left a trail of destruction in its wake. Full-cargo aircraft in both charter and scheduled services were the first to start moving again. And there are more and more of these at the airport.
Not just regional any more
KF Cargo, the Canadian carrier, has operated charter flights to Bogotá, Caracas and Lima six times a week since April 2016. In November last year, 21 Air followed suit with the same number of flights to Bogotá as well as a twice-weekly triangular service (Panama/Guatemala), while the charter company Northern Air Cargo has been operating flights four times a week to the Caribbean (San Juan, Saint Martin, Santo Domingo and Port-au-Prince). Mexican Aerounion made a preliminary connection in December 2016 with twice-weekly flights to Mexico City and Mérida. Then, in February 2017, the airport gained a global foot in the door with Qatar Airways who fly twice a week via Luxembourg, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Quito and Liège to Doha. The latest new arrival is Trans American Airlines. This operational division of Avianca Holdings is known as Taca Peru and has been flying four times a week since August to Lima, Santiago, Bogotá, Medellin and Buenos Aires using an A330-200F (photo).
Until the hurricane season, 2017 had stood out as being the best year for cargo in the history of the airport. National volumes had risen by 8.9%, international volumes by 3.2%. The Mexican carriers contributed to this in particular, they transported three times more goods than in the previous year. Middle Eastern (+114%), European (+11%) and Asian (+10%) providers also posted considerable increases.
With Taca, another Latin American market is now better connected to Miami. In a study by Oxford Economics conducted on behalf of Iata which was published at the end of September, Peru has great natural potential. The value of exported goods transported by air freight in 2014 was some USD 45.5 billion, but the infrastructure of Lima airport needs modernising and is lagging behind regional hubs like Bogotá, Panama and Santiago.