Following an increase of less than one percent in cargo shipments in 2016, Miami International Airport grew freight tonnage by nearly 5 percent in the first half of 2017. With a 4.8 percent overall growth, MIA saw an 8.3 percent increase in domestic freight and 3.7 percent growth in international cargo January through June.
In the first half of 2017, cargo tonnage on Middle East carriers experienced a 114 percent growth as compared to the same time last year. Though traffic on Latin American and Caribbean carriers increased 2.7 percent overall cargo on Mexican carriers alone rose 308 percent. Freight on European carriers grew 11.7 percent and that on Asian carriers was 10 percent.
“Miami has long been known as the Gateway to Latin America, but we are undoubtedly evolving from a regional hub to a truly global trade and logistics gateway,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “MIA’s growth in business, reach, and prominence is just another example of that.”
The increase in cargo tonnage can be partially attributed to the attraction of several new freighter airlines to MIA, the most recent of which were Mexican airline AeroUnion and Qatar Airways, as well as a number of significant security and infrastructure improvements the airport has undertaken to ensure cargo shipments are properly handled:
MIA became the first airport in the U.S., and only the second in the world, to be certified as a pharmaceutical freight hub by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 2015. The volume of pharma freight at MIA jumped 48 percent in value year-over-year to $4.4 billion in 2016.
MDAD organized a first wave of six pharma logistics providers at MIA to undergo IATA’s Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) Pharma Certification Program, certifying that pharma products are transported in accordance with global best practices. To date, the number of companies making up the pharma hub community at MIA has grown to nine.
Through a partnership with IATA, MIA became one of the first six U.S. cargo hub airports in 2016 to launch the e-AWB 360 campaign – a global effort to eliminate printing costs, replace manual data entry with a more efficient and reliable digital system, and pave the way toward a completely e-freight cargo industry.
Also in 2016, through a permit approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), MIA diversified its cargo business with Florida’s first-ever ocean-to-air perishables trans-shipment program, which allows the airport to receive perishable freight imports by sea to then be moved by air.
MDAD launched a multi-million dollar facility improvement program at MIA last year that included new surveillance cameras and lighting throughout the airport’s cargo area to improve already vigilant security monitoring, situational awareness, crime deterrence, and overall safety of MIA and cargo partner property.
Other plans MIA has in the pipeline and hopes to roll out soon to help strengthen its position as a global cargo hub include:
A Foreign Trade Zone magnet site designation, which upon approval would allow a variety of manufacturers to lease vacant property at MIA and have their tariffs deferred, reduced or eliminated.
The first phase of MIA’s Cargo Optimization, Redevelopment and Expansion (CORE) Program, a comprehensive concept to renovate MIA’s cargo infrastructure and double its capacity.
“To grow our cargo tonnage by nearly five percent overall is significant, especially when you consider that some South American economies are still rebounding from a difficult year in 2016,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González. “We’re confident in the work and attention we’ve invested into – and continue to devote to – enhancing our cargo operations at MIA and look forward to closing 2017 with even stronger numbers.”
U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors looking for a quick way to clear passport control at Miami International Airport can now look no further than MIA Airport Official, MIA’s mobile app.
MIA is the first airport in the world authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to integrate Mobile Passport Control into its mobile application, making MIA Airport Official a digital one-stop shop for MIA travelers. Previously, the only option travelers had was to download the separate Mobile Passport Control app if they wanted to clear passport control via mobile device.
Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González addresses media and attendees at a press conference, during which Miami International Airport announced that it is the first airport in the world authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to integrate Mobile Passport Control into its mobile app.
“Congratulations to the Miami-Dade Aviation Department for once again enhancing the passenger experience at MIA through cutting-edge technology,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “As the front door to Miami-Dade County and as the third-busiest gateway to the U.S., it is critical that our airport continues to improve the international arrival process for visitors to our community.”
After first-time users of MIA Airport Official create and save a traveler profile, those traveling with family will have the option to create multiple traveler profiles and include them in their submission to CBP. Once the desired number of travelers is selected, users will be asked to provide airline information and answer five questions about their travel itinerary. Upon submitting the answers, the app provides users with a digital receipt to be used at dedicated Mobile Passport Control entry lanes. The expedited service does not require pre-approval and is free of charge.
“Our airport is responsible for making a positive first impression on 70 percent of international passengers to Florida and 96 percent of all visitors to Miami,” said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, Chairperson of the County’s Economic Development and Tourism Committee. “Adding the Mobile Passport Control feature to the already great MIA Airport Official app is yet further evidence of our airport’s commitment to providing world-class customer service.”
U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors arriving at MIA who have downloaded MIA Airport Official will be automatically prompted by the app to complete the CBP process upon arrival. Users can also set an in-app reminder to submit their information upon arrival. Pending customs declarations are saved within the app and accessible from the home screen.
“The goal of our mobile app has always been to put as many services as possible in the palm of the traveler’s hand,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González. “Now, in addition to easily finding their way to all they need at MIA, U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors can also breeze through passport control with the same customer-friendly travel app.”
This convenient service, developed by global air transport IT provider SITA and certified by CBP for Mobile Passport Control, speeds up the entry process into the USA. As an integral part of MIA’s official app, the new mobile service builds on the personal travel assistant experience already being offered to Miami’s passengers.
Randy Pizzi, SITA President, Americas, said: “We are very pleased to be a technology partner with MIA as they become the first to incorporate the convenience of US CBP Mobile Passport Control into their airport application. Passenger satisfaction increases when technology solutions like SITA’s make it easy for passengers to manage their journey using just one convenient application on their own smartphone or tablet.”
Additionally, thanks to more than 500 Bluetooth data beacons installed throughout MIA, users can use MIA Airport Official to scan their boarding pass and receive turn-by-turn, blue-dot navigation with estimated walk times, or get real-time flight updates and shopping and dining suggestions nearby based on their customizable personal profile. MIA is one of only a handful of airports in the world to incorporate beacon technology with its mobile app to provide this cutting-edge, personalized travel experience.
MIA Airport Official 2.0’s location-aware technology provides options based on geography, so a user in Miami will get a different experience than someone opening it in London, Bogotá or New York. Passengers can also search the mobile app’s extensive database in English and Spanish for directions to whatever their travel needs are – with a single keyword. Whether its bagels or bathrooms, T-shirts or TSA checkpoints, MIA Airport Official 2.0 will find it and get you there.
MIA Airport Official 2.0 is available for free at the iPhone and Google Play app stores. The app’s location-based features require Bluetooth, location services and Wi-Fi network settings to be turned on.
THE PILOT SHORTAGE is here, and it’s been making headlines. Last month, Horizon Air, the Seattle-based affiliate of Alaska Airlines and one of the country’s biggest regional carriers, announced it would be forced to reduce its busy summer schedule due to a dearth of pilots.
The shortage already caused Horizon to cancel more than 300 flights in June. Earlier this year, Republic Airways, a large U.S. regional carrier that flies on behalf of United, American, and Delta, filed for bankruptcy protection. It blamed the filing, in part, on a lack of qualified pilots. Other carriers have been canceling flights and mothballing aircraft as pilot recruitment departments scramble to fill classroom slots.
Yes, the shortage is real. It’s critical, however, to make it clear which sectors of the aviation industry we’re talking about. First, we are looking specifically at the U.S. airline industry. Civilian pilots in the United States are responsible for securing their own FAA credentials, and for logging hundreds, or even thousands, of hours of flight time before applying at an airline. It’s a long, slow, and very expensive process. Other countries often recruit pilots differently, with a growing reliance on so-called “ab-initio” programs, whereby young candidates are chosen from scratch, with no prior experience, and are groomed from the ground-up, so to speak, in a tightly controlled regimen that puts them in the cockpit of a jetliner very quickly. These programs are ultra-competitive, drawing hundreds of applicants for each available slot. Even more important, we need to draw a sharp divide between the major carriers and their regional affiliates. The major carriers, also referred to as “legacy” carriers, everyone is pretty familiar with — American, United, Delta, Southwest, JetBlue, et al. There is no pilot shortage at these companies, and unless something changes drastically they will continue to have a surplus of highly qualified candidates to choose from. They are able to cull from the top ranks of the regionals, as well as from the military and corporate aviation pools. Even amidst an ongoing wave of retirements, a steady supply of experienced crews is unlikely to be depleted.
At the regional airlines, it’s a different story. And by “regional” we are referring to the numerous subcontractors who operate smaller jets and turboprops on the majors’ behalf: those myriad “Connection” and “Express” companies, whose actual identities are usually concealed beneath the liveries of whichever major they are aligned with. United Express, Delta Connection, American Eagle, and so on. For civilian pilots, the typical career progression includes a substantial amount of tenure at this level before, assuming he or she is fortunate enough, progressing to a major. And it’s here where the problem is.
How it came to this is both a long and short story. The short story is that pay at the regionals is terrible and working conditions are harsh. This has driven thousands of pilots out of the industry, and/or has discouraged countless others from pursuing an aviation career in the first place. Becoming a licensed commercial pilot, to the point where one is eligible to apply for an airline job — any airline job — requires a huge amount of time and money. It can take years, and the average pilots sinks well over a hundred thousand dollars into his or her flight training and education. Salaries at the regionals, meanwhile, have traditionally started low as $20,000 a year, and have topped out at under six figures. Schedules are demanding and benefits paltry; the relationship between management and the workers is often hostile. On top of all that, the regional sector is highly unstable. These carriers always seem to be coming or going, shrinking or shedding planes, changing their names and realigning themselves with different majors. But this is nothing new. Pay and working conditions at these companies have always been substandard. Yet filling jobs has seldom been a problem, so what gives? Well, what’s different is that the regional sector has grown so large. Today, regional jets account for an astonishing half — 53 percent was the last number I saw — of all domestic departures in the United States. As recently as twenty years ago it was somewhere around fifteen percent. In those days, pilots saw a job with a regional as a temporary inconvenience — paying one’s dues. It was a stepping stone toward a more lucrative position with a major. Pilots are now realizing that a job at a regional could easily mean an entire career at a regional. Thus, a diminishing number have been willing to commit the time and money to their education and training when the return on investment is somewhere between unpredictable and financially ruinous. An aspiring aviator has to ask, is it worth sinking $100,000 or more into one’s primary training, plus the time it will take to build the necessary number of flight hours, plus the cost of a college education, only to spend years toiling at poverty-level wages, with at best a marginal shot at moving on to a major? For many, the answer is no.
In the meantime, the FAA has enacted tougher hiring standards for entry-level pilots. Over the past two decades, as the regional sector grew and grew, thousands of new jobs were created. To fill these slots, airlines sharply lowered their experience and flight time minimums. Suddenly, pilots were being taken on with as little as 350 hours of total time, assigned to the first officer’s seat of sophisticated regional jets. Then came a rash of accidents, including the Colgan Air (Continental Connection) disaster outside Buffalo in 2009. Regulators began taking a closer look at hiring practices, eventually passing legislation mandating higher flight time totals and additional certification requirements for new-hires.
Some airlines blame the shortage at least partly on these tougher rules. Technically they’re right, but really all the new regulations have done is returning things to historical norms. My first job with a regional — “commuters” we called them in those days — was in 1990. Competitive applicants at the time had between 1,500 and 2,000 hours, and most of us had an FAA Airline Transport Pilot certificate as well. That’s more or less what the FAA requires today. The difference, of course, is that there are far more jobs to fill. Things are beginning to change, if slowly. To their credit, many regionals have started upping their salaries and improving benefits. The cost structures of these carriers, whose existence is primarily to allow the majors to outsource flying on the cheap, limits how much they can lavish on their employees, but if they want to stay in the game, they frankly have little choice. New-hires at companies like Endeavor Air (a Delta affiliate) and PSA (American), for example, can now make first-year salaries in the $70,000-plus range. That’s around three times what these pilots would have been making in years past. Some companies are offering signing bonuses of several thousand dollars, and work rules too are getting better. Air Wisconsin, a United partner and one of the nation’s oldest regionals, says that new-hires can now earn up to $57,000 in sign-on bonuses. It promises earnings of between $260,000 and $317,000, including salary, bonuses, and what it calls “elected benefits,” over the first three years of employment. Numbers like that are unprecedented.
For those considering a piloting career, the situation is looking better. The problem for the industry, though, is the lag time. For a pilot just learning to fly, any cockpit job is still a long way off — probably years away. So while the mechanisms are falling into place to curtail a full-flown crisis, the shortage is going to be with us for a while.
First certified civilian female Afghan pilot will attempt to become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world to promote STEM and aviation education to encourage women to believe in themselves and allow their dreams to soar.
Scheduled for May 13, 2017, weather permitting, Shaesta Waiz will begin her solo flight around the world. That’s 30 stops over five continents, in 18 countries, in 90 days – with more than 25,000 miles flown. But it’s nothing compared to the journey this 29-year-old aviator – the first certified civilian female Afghan pilot – has already persevered.
Born in a refugee camp in Afghanistan in 1987, Waiz and her family fled to America to escape the brutal Soviet-Afghan war, which was amid ripping the two nations apart.One of six sisters in her family, Waiz was raised in Richmond, California, where she discovered an interest in aviation. That’s when everything changed for her.
“She’s an inspiration to all of us – she’s created a spark and a flame in our hearts to live a life giving of ourselves to ensure we positively impact the next generation, our future leaders, and our future communities,” says Lyndse Costabile, Chair for Dreams Soar, Inc.’s Board of Directors. “The global solo flight is only one chapter of the Dreams Soar program, yet one that will leave a footprint on the lives of 20,000 plus women and men globally.”
While a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Waiz founded the Women’s Ambassadors Program in 2011 to increase the female enrollment through a modeled mentor program. In less than three years, under her leadership, the program helped increase female enrollment from 13 to 22 percent. With a mission to encourage more women to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and aviation-related degrees, Dreams Soar was born late 2014 by Waiz, now a non-profit organization whose goal is to partner with strong female role models along her upcoming route around the world, and together, promote the importance of STEM and aviation education, globally.
“Every time I open the door of an aircraft, I ask myself, ‘How did a girl with my background become so lucky? The truth is, anyone can be me,” remarks Waiz.
Waiz’s global solo flight for STEM will begin and end at Daytona Beach International Airport, and will include stops in Canada, Europe, India, Egypt, Thailand, Middle East, Singapore, and Australia. U.S. stops will include Columbus, Ohio, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Hilo, Hawaii, El Cajon, California, Phoenix, Arizona, Wichita, Kansas, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Georgia, and Mobile, Alabama.
The longest leg of the global flight is Hilo, Hawaii to El Cajon, California, one that extends to 2,184 nautical miles over the Pacific Ocean. Global Partners to this program include ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and BendixKing by Honeywell.
Louis C. Seno, Jr. and his wife Christine have supported Waiz since the beginning, helping to acquire the A36 bonanza, supporting her flight training and other aspects of the program. Lou served Embry-Riddle for 25 plus years, and currently serves on the board for EAA and GAMA. “As a 40-year veteran in business and corporate aviation, my wife and I cannot imagine a better cause to invest that truly measures the reach and impact on our youth on a global scale, ” comments Mr. Seno. “Shaesta Waiz, through our support and others, will no doubt complete her mission in October 2016, propelling this industry forward.”
A 20 plus member Dream Team of talented collegiate students and young professionals serve the Dreams Soar program using expertise from their STEM and aviation curriculum to lead efforts related to donor/corporate relations, social media campaigns, video productions/multimedia, outreach events, weather briefings and global climate, homeland security and risk management, women in STEM strategies, to list a few. “We’ve taken action, stepped up to use our skilled minds to impact the next generation,” says Oriole Le, Women in STEM/Outreach team member for the Dream Team. “Helping plan a historic global solo flight and support a new nonprofit has proved to me, anything is possible.”
For a complete itinerary of planned stops, information on Waiz and the Dreams Soar team, visit Dreams Soar’s website: www.dreamssoar.org
Waiz is currently based in Daytona Beach, Florida.
About Dreams Soar, Inc.:
Dreams Soar, Inc., is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization founded by Shaesta Waiz, a dual-graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, whose mission is to inspire the next generation of STEM and aviation professionals, globally. The global solo flight is the first phase of Dreams Soar’s worldwide effort to empower the next generation to pursue degrees and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and aviation, specifically for young women and minorities. Supported by her Dream Team of collegiate students and young professionals, Waiz aims to be the youngest woman to circumnavigate the globe, as well as the first Afghan women to fly solo around the world. Departing from Daytona Beach International Airport (KDAB), the global flight intends to raise additional dollars to award scholarships for young women and men worldwide in pursuit of STEM and aviation education. For more information about Dreams Soar, visit dreamssoar.org.