MIAMI - The turmoil at American Airlines, which has announced layoffs and flight reductions this week, could spill over to Miami International Airport, which serves as the international hub for the carrier.
"American has indicated to us that Miami will play a very important part of its growth plan over the next five years," said Ken Pyatt, the Deputy Director at Miami International Airport.
"Was that before or after the bankruptcy filing?" asked Local 10's Glenna Milberg.
"That was actually after they declared bankruptcy," replied Pyatt.
During American's decades long investment in MIA's North Terminal, it has become the airline's international hub and Miami-Dade's largest private employer. Despite cuts to staff in the last few months and this week's warning letters to more than a thousand employees, the airline expects most in Miami to eventually be spared.
"We look to the future to the next five years, and we expect approximately a 20 percent growth in each of our hubs," said Martha Pantin with American Airlines.
In August 2011, American Airlines had 24.7 million passengers fly through MIA. In August 2012, the carrier had 25.6 million, a 4.6 percent growth, largely from the growing number of Latin American destinations.
"The demand for travel out of Miami will remain strong and there will be a need to transport those passengers from point A or point B," said Pyatt. "Whether that's American coming out of bankruptcy as a solo carrier or as merged with somebody else."
Experts believe if American Airlines were to emerge as a new company, it would keep the international hub growing at MIA.
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