In his role as the Miami-Dade Aviation Department Marketing Division Director, Chris Mangos is tasked with developing new routes and bringing new airlines to Miami International Airport.
Under his watch, the airport has added dozens of new routes in recent years, and the number of airlines operating there now exceeds 100.
The very busy Mangos recently made time for an interview with TNM.
Q: Many in Miami’s business community frequently discuss the importance of adding flights to Asia. What are the top prospects for new service?
A: We are in ongoing discussions with airlines in Asia, but we cannot disclose the details publicly because that could disrupt those discussions. We are also engaging our air service development consultants to work on development of an Asian Task Force within the Miami business community to quantify and qualify the need for Asian air service from Miami. This project will pick up momentum in the fall of this year and will include e-surveys and other community-building efforts culminating with invitations to a host of Asian and US carriers to individually receive a presentation from the top tiers of the Task Force, from MIA and from elected officials. Information from the community will have been tabulated and presented to the airlines in order for them to fully understand the potential of a Miami-to-Asia route. A similar program was formulated in Boston and it garnered that community a Tokyo route by Japan Airlines.
Q: American Airlines executives have previously said that they plan to add new destinations from MIA once they obtain a single operating certificate. Now that this is imminent, what should they be looking at?
A: American already has a stronghold on the Latin American and Caribbean market at MIA, so launching service to untapped regions from Miami may be a consideration and would certainly be welcomed by MIA. American has made gains in Europe from Miami and we can expect to see its growth move to areas beyond their route system in the Western Hemisphere.
Q: In light of the success that Qatar Airways has had at MIA, is Emirates making a mistake by choosing to begin service to Orlando first?
A: Orlando is primarily a leisure market, whereas Miami has proven to be a successful market for business and leisure travel, in addition to being the busiest U.S. gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean. All that being said, Florida as a whole is proving to be a market that cannot be ignored. With 20 million residents and 100 million annual visitors, clearly Emirates saw reason and value in choosing another Florida destination for a Gulf carrier to serve.
Q: Can a new entrant such as Eastern Air Lines compete at MIA, considering how dominant American Airlines is?
A: We continue to add new carriers every year at MIA, and Eastern is no exception. They are beginning with charter service, with plans to increase to scheduled service. The incredible story at MIA is that more than 100 carriers ‘earn a living’ and continue to operate at our airport, and that number continues to grow.
Q: Was Spirit Airlines ever really serious about moving service from FLL to MIA?
A: We did have serious discussions with Spirit, as we do with many airlines. The dynamics at airlines, as at airports, are constantly changing. Spirit has grown into a large carrier, with even more aircraft on order. It will continue to look at new markets to spread its wings – not unlike what all airlines do as they examine their growth options.
Q: Airport officials have stated a goal of adding flights to Africa. Is there a realistic prospect of this happening in the near term?
A: We continue to have discussions with airlines from Africa, but there is nothing that we can announce at this time. What is important is that we remained engaged with several markets and carriers there and that MIA continues to show genuine interest in expanding its route structure to the African continent. Is it a realistic prospect? In due time, yes – it will be.