The rapid growth of international passenger flights from Miami and Fort Lauderdale have made the world South Florida’s oyster.
That frequent rumble overhead signals more than just another planeload of New Yorkers escaping to the tropics.
Building on its early 20th century history as a commercial and military flight center, Miami is thrusting deeper into the aviation cosmos, increasing its presence as an international nexus for aviation and aerospace services. In the past five years, local aviation-sector jobs have grown from a total of $1.2 billion in payroll to $2 billion, now accounting for one one of every four local jobs.
That growth helps explain why the industry’s top trade group, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), has chosen Miami for its key North American confab in 2017. The Wings of Change conference, slated for May 2-3, will bring together about 300 industry decision makers from around the region to discuss infrastructure, regulatory issues, passenger trends and technology.
“The purpose of Wings of Change is to bring together key air transport decision-makers, government officials and airlines to examine aviation’s top priority issues and map out strategies for the industry’s future,” said Peter Cerdá, the Miami-based regional vice president for the Americas at IATA, which represents 268 airlines in 121 countries. “Air transport has an oversized footprint in the local economy, and it is fitting that we recognize this example and leadership by bringing Wings of Change to Miami.”
The conference is the result of ongoing efforts by the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the county’s economic development agency supported by tax dollars and private funds. The council’s 20-year initiative to grow the aviation industry kicked into high gear under the 2012 One Community One Goal economic diversification program, which identified the industry as a target for growth. In the years since, Miami has partnered with the offices of the county mayor and Florida governor to boost its brand at industry events including the signature Paris Air Show and has played host to peripatetic conferences, including the industry’s overhaul and repair conference.
THE WINGS OF CHANGE CONFERENCE, SLATED FOR MAY 2-3, WILL BRING TOGETHER ABOUT 300 INDUSTRY DECISION MAKERS FROM AROUND THE REGION TO DISCUSS INFRASTRUCTURE, REGULATORY ISSUES, PASSENGER TRENDS AND TECHNOLOGY.
While initiatives to bring a commercial air show to Miami-Dade have been quashed by the Pentagon and environmentalists, Beacon Council officials hope the Wings of Change conference will become a signature Miami event that will help attract and grow the industry’s local presence, much like SeaTrade, a long-standing global cruise shipping conference, and eMerge Americas, the 4-year-old tech conference. Though each of those are held annually, Wings of Change — previously held in Chile — would likely be held every two years, said James Kohnstamm, the Beacon Council’s senior vice president of economic development.
The Miami event “will be a real opportunity to highlight the importance of the industry for Miami-Dade,” said Alex de Gunten, an executive with South Florida-based HEICO and chairman of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council’s aviation committee.
Thanks to Miami’s organic growth as an international destination and the council’s efforts, the number of aviation and aerospace companies in Miami-Dade has grown from 448 in 2011 to 483 today, resulting in industry-sector job growth of 23 percent and an increase of average salaries from $60,491 to $82,811. In Broward County, industry jobs have grown nearly as much, by 20.8 percent over the past five years.
When it comes to vying for aviation business, Miami has plenty of competition. But while Boeing’s home field of Seattle-Tacoma commandeers U.S. manufacturing, Southern California ranks high for repair and maintenance, Memphis competes for for parts distribution, and Florida’s Space Coast competes for aerospace ventures, Miami brings together multiple critical services in a single location: overhaul and maintenance, parts distribution and training for both aviation and aerospace…Fuente: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/biz-monday/article142124884.html