MIA Spending $651 Million To Refurbish Central Terminal, Which Will Be Demolished A Few Years Later

Miami International Airport officials revealed details last week about their plan to refurbish the aging Central Terminal last week, but some Dade commissioners want the building demolished and replaced instead.

The airport has embarked on a three year, $651 million renovation, which they say is necessary to keep pace with unexpectedly high growth. That work could quickly be undone, however, as the airport has long-term plans to demolish and replace the Central Terminal, beginning in 2025.

MIA now ranks as the second fastest growing in the country. American Airlines accounts for 50 percent of the growth, with the airline requesting a record 55 gates this winter.

Last week, three renovated gates opened in the E satelite, with a total of nine (seven widebody) expected to come online soon.  A new train connecting the low and high E gates is being built, and jet bridges, ticket counters, and floors throughout E are also being replaced.

At least four new A380 gates are also being built at the airport. The first at E6/E8, is already online and being used by British Airways. Another is planned in the E satelite at E24/E25, with two more in the north and south terminals (D1/D2, H.)

Operating in an aging terminal has other drawbacks. Documents obtained by TNM reveal that the lack of ground power and conditioned air in the Central Terminal’s Concourse G has cost Frontier Airlines nearly $600,000 in extra expenses through September. Those costs would put the airline at a disadvantage to those in MIA’s more modern terminals, and the airport has agreed to reimburse them in full.

At a committee meeting last week, airport officials insisted that they believed their plan made the most financial sense. After being pressed by commissioners, they said that they would be open to a public-private partnership to rebuild the terminal at an accelerated pace, if a private company presented a plan.


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5 years ago

Waste of money. Growth will only clip the modernization of the terminals happening now. Might as well just go all the way and tear it down to build a bigger terminal now than spend millions that will go to waste soon. It won’t get any easier or less convenient 10 years from now… so why wait.

5 years ago

Why wait? Well this way they can gouge the taxpayers now and gouge the taxpayers again later.

P. Ricky Elduh
5 years ago

Most people know that the airport is not funded by taxpayers. Airport users (airlines, restaurants, fuel companies, bag wrappers, gift shops, service companies, etc.) all pay fees, leases, advertising rates, etc. that fund the airport. Of course airlines generally base their airfares on how much it cost them to operate at an airport and that’s why fares at MIA are usually higher than low-cost FLL and why airlines like JetBlue, Southwest and Spirit don’t operate flights into MIA. MIA will always be a high-cost airport deep in bond indebtedness.

5 years ago

I wonder if the Central Terminal will be listed on America’s Most Endangered Places. Many of it’s MiMo features are still prevalent from when it opened in 1959, and passengers, including myself, harbor nostalgia. Mid-century airport terminals are timeless the same way as pre-war train stations. For example, see the former TWA Flight Center at JFK.

4 years ago

Comparing MIA Central Terminal to a historic TWA Flight Center at JFK is a stretch of the imagination by all accounts. MIA Central Terminal has no historical significance in its architecture at all. Case closed.

david m
5 years ago

may not be the majority opinion, but i love the feeling of arriving at MIA. modern airports are so sterile and MIA is just this wonderful throwback. people will regret its demolition, mark my words. it’s not quite nyc penn station, but it’s not far off.

3 years ago

It could be a waste of money to build and operate a terminal years ahead of its designed capacity. IE.. Empty terminal space is loosing money…