October 21, 2020
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Gray Swoope Op Ed: American Airlines
by Gray Swoope
Florida Secretary of Commerce
President & CEO, Enterprise Florida Inc.
American Airlines has a long, rich tenure in Florida, one that should continue for generations to come. As the airline works to restore its industry leadership, now is the time to emphasize the company’s importance to Florida.
American is valued economic partner to Florida, and more so to Miami-Dade. Statewide, the airline’s economic impact is significant mainly because of its 410 daily departures; 310 of which take place from Miami. While refocusing itself for future viability, American must maintain the flexibility needed to continue building and investing in Florida markets. Miami, for instance, would be included in the airline’s plan to increase departures at its five major hubs by 20 percent during the next five years. Plans also call for more international flights.
Since 1979, American’s growth and expansion in Miami has evolved into one of the most remarkable success stories in commercial aviation history. The city is American’s primary gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, and this geographical benefit has contributed greatly to the company’s success. For this reason in 1989, American established its Miami hub, which today accommodates more than 23 million passengers and accounts for 70 percent of Miami International Airport’s traffic.
This activity means a lot to our state’s bottom line. American has been an economic driver, annually bringing more than 30 million tourists and business professionals to and from Florida. In dollars, this translates to a $13.9 billion yearly impact on the state’s gross domestic product. A vital American Airlines means jobs. The company employs 9,284 workers statewide, but this number affects 155,000 Florida jobs when considering vendors and other businesses that rely on American for their livelihoods. Those jobs support thousands of tax-paying families that contribute to the vibrancy and prosperity of their own local communities, businesses and schools.
American Airlines is undergoing a challenging process that’s designed to secure the company with a solid foundation for future success. I believe American has moved decisively to chart a strong course for success. It will entail hard decisions in the coming weeks and months. However, I am confident that American’s leadership will make the right choices to ensure the airline’s viability and sustain many jobs that otherwise would be lost.