Miami International Airport’s status as Miami-Dade County’s largest economic engine has been cemented by the approval of its First $1 billion operating budget.
The budget for Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) was approved by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners at the governing body’s final budget hearing yesterday.
Fiscal year 2015-16 revenue at MIA was boosted by a 4% surge in passengers from hub carrier American Airlines, increases by other existing airlines, and the addition of eight new carriers during that included Austrian Airlines; Finnair; Scandinavian Airlines; Turkish Airlines; and VivaColombia.
In addition to being the country’s second-busiest airport for international passengers and ranking number one for international freight, MIA will begin fiscal year 2017 with 108 passenger and cargo carriers – the most of any US airport.
As a result of MIA’s growth and sound financial management, the Aviation Department is carrying over $80 million in surplus realised this year into fiscal year 2016-17 and lowering its airline landing fee from $1.68 to $1.63 per 1,000 pounds of gross landed weight.
MDAD operates as a self-supporting enterprise fund of Miami-Dade County, meaning no County property tax dollars are used to support MIA and the County’s four general aviation airports.
MIA’s airline partners serve as the primary guarantors of the Aviation Department’s operating expenses and debt service.
“Congratulations to the Aviation Department for achieving this significant economic milestone,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor, Carlos A. Gimenez.
“MIA continues to be the backbone of our community for business revenue, job creation, tourism and trade.
“Additionally, a lower landing fee will only help retain existing carriers and attract new ones. In spite of struggling economies throughout Latin America, MIA’s growth speaks volumes about its evolution into a truly global gateway.”
MDAD’s billion-dollar budget mark follows stellar affirmations in July from three of America’s leading bond rating agencies, which each assigned an ‘A’ and ‘AA-‘ ratings and stable outlook to the Department’s $744 million Series 2016 A&B aviation revenue refunding bonds as well as the outstanding $5.5 billion in aviation revenue.
Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings each assigned ‘A’ rating and stable outlook, while Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigned an ‘AA-‘ rating and stable outlook.
Additionally, Moody’s armed the Aviation Department’s enterprise revenue bonds with an ‘A2’ rating and stable outlook.
Market rates in August achieved more than $97 million in net present value savings on debt related to capital improvements at MIA.
Among MIA’s strengths, KBRA noted the following: “Management has effectively steered MIA through its massive capital programme; its southeastern US location is in relative close proximity to key destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean; and its sizable foreign-born service area population fosters international business and supports travel by family and friends.”
MDAD director, Emilio González, enthuses: “Our first-ever billion dollar budget is further testament to MIA’s significance within the local, state and national economy.
“With three more airlines launching service in the fourth quarter, others expected in 2017, and new business development initiatives, including cargo redevelopment, on the horizon, we look forward to expanding our economic impact even further.”