From left: Miami-Dade Aviation Director González (left) and Florida International University President Mark B. Rosenberg, during a recent visit to the Airbus Training Center

Two global summits – last week’s International Air Cargo Association 2017 Executive Summit and next week’s 2017 Air and Sea Cargo Americas – are bringing hundreds of air transport professionals from across the world to Miami-Dade County, and are once again shining a worldwide spotlight on Miami International Airport and the surrounding aviation community it supports.

Already home to America’s hub for flights to Latin America and the Caribbean, its busiest airport for international freight and the only one among the world’s top 10 in that category, and the U.S. airport with more airlines (106) than any other, Miami-Dade County can also lay claim to another notable but little-known title: Flight simulator and training capital of the world.

No metropolitan area in the world has as many premier flight training centers as Miami-Dade County, making it a global magnet for domestic and international flights students – and the hotel stays, visitor spending and economic impact that comes with them.

One of the Atlas Air Training Center simulators

Airbus – one of the world’s top two aircraft manufacturers – has made its training center near MIA its Centre of Excellence for the Americas. Built in 1999, the $50 million facility provides training for Airbus customers’ flight and cabin crew, as well as maintenance personnel. The custom-designed, 110,000-square-foot complex has a total of six full-flight simulators, as well as cabin door and slide trainers, state-of-the-art computer-based training classrooms and six flight training devices simulating the A320, A330, A340 and A350 aircraft. Approximately 2,500 trainees from Airbus airline operators in the U.S., Canada and Latin America take courses annually in Miami under the direction of 70 Airbus employees. 

The Airbus Training Center in Miami is also home to the Americas headquarters for ATR, the world’s leading turboprop manufacturer. Inaugurated by ATR in February, the training center is equipped with a Full Flight Simulator for ATR-600 series aircraft.

Boeing – the world’s other top aircraft manufacturer – counts its Flight Services campus on the northern perimeter of MIA as the largest in the Americas region. The 134,000-square-foot facility has space for up to 20 full flight simulators, several flight-training devices, modern computer-equipped classrooms, and computer-based training (CBT) areas.

The Atlas Air Training Center at MIA delivers best-in-class instruction and curriculum to more than 10,000 pilots, flight engineers, flight attendants and other aviation professionals each year, specializing in air crew training for widebody B747 and B767s. Atlas Air is a subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide, whose companies operate the world’s largest fleet of Boeing 747 freighter aircraft and a broad array of Boeing 747, 777, 767, 757 and 737 aircraft. Atlas Air is currently in their second five-year awarded contract providing training for the crews of Air Force One and the E-4B National Airborne Operations Center. The E-4B, which serves as the National Airborne Operations Center for the president, secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), is a military version of the Boeing 747-200.

The Airbus Training Center near MIA

Pan Am International Flight Academy, widely considered the world’s most experienced airline training company, has based its global operations at MIA since 1980.  As the only surviving division of original Pan American World Airways, Pan Am International Flight Academy – now a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Al Nippon Airways – can trace its instruction heritage to the earliest days of airline flight training in the 1960s.

MIA and its general aviation airports are also home to three Miami Dade College Eig-Watson School of Aviation flight training locations, equipped with state-of-the-art simulators. The renowned Eig-Watson School of Aviation has been a leader in the aviation field since its beginnings in 1961.

“As the busiest connecting point between the Americas and Europe, and considering our 89-year history, it stands to reason that MIA is also the flight training hub of the world,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González. “We are proud to partner with our local flight training providers to be the global leader in this critical sector of the aviation industry.”