The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has selected Miami as the host city for its Wings of Change conference, scheduled for early May 2017, and there is an important reason behind this choice: the impressive growth of Miami as an international hub for aviation.
According to a recent article published in the Miami Herald, the aviation industry in South Florida has expanded its regional payroll from $1.2 billion to more than $2 billion over the last five years. One out of every four jobs in Miami is now related in some way to aviation.
IATA represents 261 passenger and cargo airlines operating in 191 countries. The Miami conference is expected to gather 300 industry leaders who will discuss the future of the industry in terms of regulation, labor, technology, and safety.
Prior to the conference, Miami officials and key aviation industry representatives have been engaged in marketing the Magic City as a convenient hub for all types of flights. To this effect, Miami has had an advantage due to the convergence of business entities that have been providing passenger, cargo, military, and leisure flights since the 20th century. The City of Miami had a strong presence at the Paris Air Show last year, and many aviation companies have shown interest in setting up shop in South Florida.
The aerospace sector has also shown strong development in Miami over the last few years. This emergence is due to the fact that Miami has managed to attract a lot of tech talent, and there’s also the geographic factor since the city is located near the Space Coast and Cape Canaveral.
Miami International Airport is currently home to more than 200 companies dedicated to aircraft maintenance and repair. A few startups dedicated to electronic instruments have also chosen Miami as their operational center.
The Wings of Change conference could set up shop permanently in Miami. The previous host city was Santiago in Chile; organizers are interested in Miami’s status as the new business capital of Latin America, and thus they are already thinking about the next conference, which would take place before the end of the decade.