MIA starts 2024 with record growth and an A+ bond rating

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Miami International Airport saw record-breaking growth, welcoming 14.9 million passengers in Q1 2024, an 11.6% increase from last year, driven by robust international and domestic travel.

Miami International Airport (MIA) started 2024 with its fastest pace ever for passenger growth, serving 1.5 million more travelers in the first quarter than its previous record set in the same period last year, according to audited statistics recently released by the Miami-Dade Aviation Department. In the first three months of 2024, MIA welcomed 14.9 million passengers, which was a massive 11.6 percent increase from 13.3 million travelers over the same period last year. International travel led the way with a 12 percent jump to 6.5 million passengers, while domestic travel grew 11.3 percent to 8.3 million passengers.

MIA’s impressive growth and financial stability earned its revenue bonds an upgrade to ‘A+’ from ‘A’ by Standard and Poor’s (S&P) in the bond rating agency’s recent report on April 22. Last year, Fitch Ratings also increased MIA’s bonds to an A+ rating.

“S&P’s upgrade is more evidence that MIA is one of the fastest-growing and best-managed airports in the country. The improved rating also demonstrates that MIA’s ongoing improvements are making a strong impression on industry experts, which is fantastic news for our residents and our local business community,” says Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

According to S&P credit analysts in the April 22 report, “The rating reflects our view of MIA’s emergence as a large hub that is outperforming peers, leading to an improvement in the market position to extremely strong from very strong. In addition, our positive holistic analysis reflects our view of the airport’s financial resiliency and stability through multiple economic cycles and captures MIA’s operational strengths relative to those of large hub peers. MIA’s trends (when compared with 2019 demand) are the strongest among the top 10 large hub airports, according to Federal Aviation Administration statistics. In addition, MIA exceeds our national median activity estimates, which show airport enplanements falling short of 110% of 2019 demand until 2026.”

The S&P report also gave high marks for MDAD’s management of MIA’s capital improvement program, noting that MDAD has “Very strong management and governance, as is evident in an experienced, proactive, and effective management team” and, “We believe the enplanement trajectory will support the significant capital plan and sustain the financial position consistent with the ‘A+’ rating.”

The airport’s M.I.A. Plan is implementing $1.7 billion in maintenance upgrades, including replacing or renovating all 616 elevators, and escalators, and moving walkways at MIA in need of an upgrade. MIA is also making an unprecedented investment of more than $7 billion in its Future-Ready Capital Improvement Program.