State, county incentives seeking to draw new hispanic-owned airline
By Lou Ortiz
Nearly $1 million in economic incentives from the state and Miami-Dade County are awaiting a startup passenger and cargo airline that may begin service from Miami International Airport this summer.
The county's Aviation Department and economic development entities the Beacon Council and Enterprise Florida declined to identify the airline.
Officials at Enterprise Florida said the state is obligated to keep the airline's name confidential for one year, unless airline officials decide to make a public announcement before the year is up.
The airline would carry passengers and cargo from the US to the Caribbean, county documents show.
On April 8, the county commission approved $196,000 in incentives, with the state expected to provide an additional $784,000.
The county incentives would be spread over a six-year period, from 2011 to 2016, and average $32,667 annually.
The company is Hispanic-owned and would be the first airline to be headquartered at the Miami airport since the now-defunct Eastern Airlines, according to documents provided to the county commission by the Beacon Council.
The airline is deciding whether to locate in Miami or Queens, NY, the documents say.
If the company chooses Miami, it would spend $14.8 million over two years to renovate and equip a 52,000-square-foot facility at the airport. Renovations would begin in the second quarter this year.
The company would also create 245 jobs with annual salaries estimated at $65,816, with an additional $15,000 in benefits, documents show.
Area aviation consultants contacted said they are unaware of plans for a startup airline that match the description given by the Beacon Council and Enterprise Florida. The US Department of Transportation says it is considering applications from 12 companies to start air service in the US.