Miami, Fla. May Try Fee Cuts to Lure Flights

Miami International Airport plans to launch an incentive program for airlines -- with a year's free landing fees for new flights -- to lure more domestic and international service and to stem the loss of passengers to Fort Lauderdale.


Ed Nelson, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood's director of air service development, said the program has helped that airport, but it has not been the key to new flights.

''Every airline that has brought service here has done it because it's needed and the market is there,'' Nelson said.

While MIA's plan would save a carrier about $75,000 in annual landing fees, the airport still would earn about $427,000 to $530,000 in other fees and charges for that same flight. Additional passengers also would presumably spend money on concessions and parking.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez said Tuesday that he would be in favor of the program, though he was not familiar with its details.

''I'd be in complete support of anything that will make MIA more competitive in a very competitive market,'' he said.

THE FUNDS

To qualify, an airline would have to begin year-round, nonstop service to any U.S. or Canadian destination, or nonstop or connecting service to any international destination not currently served. The flight must result in a net increase in the carrier's total flights to that city.

Funds will come from a $5 million airport improvement fund, Bonzon said. Total landing-fee waivers will be capped at $3 million a year, based on a first-come, first-served basis. MIA proposes to reevaluate the program after two years.

The proposal will go to Miami-Dade's regional transportation committee on April 14, and if endorsed, to the County Commission on May 3 for consideration.

We Recommend