Two airlines to add direct flights between Miami, European cities
By Shannon Pettypiece
Two additional European flights are on the horizon and a new airline could be flying into Miami International Airport by spring.
Lufthansa Airlines will offer direct flights daily between Miami and Munich, and Scandinavian carrier Finnair will revive direct service from Helsinki to Miami discontinued in 2001, said Chris Mangos of the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department. Both flights are to begin next month.
The Helsinki flight will be scheduled several times a week.
Mr. Mangos said airport officials are talking with another European service about adding flights to Miami but would not name the company. Miami International is targeting 26 destinations in countries such as Ireland, Belgium, Portugal, Austria and Scandinavia for direct service.
Direct flights are critical in attracting visitors, said Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau President Bill Talbert. Miami representatives recently visited Dublin, Ireland, and Brussels, Belgium, and may go to Lisbon, Portugal, to discuss potential flights.
Expanding air service brings more tourists as well as business travelers and cargo, Mr. Mangos said. One of Miami's selling points, he said, is its link to Latin America, an attraction for airlines serving European firms looking to expand into that market.
"They can choose any other city and just get that city, or they can choose Miami and get all of Latin America," he said.
The airport contributes $18.6 billion annually to the local economy and new airline service creates hundreds of jobs, Miguel Southwell, the Aviation Department's assistant director of business development, said last month.
"As we examine our options to increase service here," he said, "we must be able to justify the spending with promoting that service against what the economic impact would be."