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Aviation in Miami: The First 100 Years

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  AIRPORT - Timeline

A number of key players and events have shaped the somewhat rocky development of Miami’s airports and
aviation infrastructure.


1926

Florida Airways flies in emergency cash and supplies in aftermath of  the 1926 hurricane, which proves the usefulness of air service.

Florida Airways ceases operation due to inadequate airport facilities, sparking the formation of the Greater Miami Airport Association (GMAA).


1927

GMAA actively lobbies the City of Miami to build a major airport at Virginia Key.


1928

Glenn Curtiss donates land to the city for Miami Municipal Airport.

Andrew Heermance becomes the first director of the city’s Aviation Department.

Juan Trippe opens the 36th Street Airport for the use of Pan Am World Airways. and begins Miami-Havana passenger air service.


1930

Juan Trippe buys NYRBA (New York, Rio and Buenos Aires Line’s routes and aircraft and shifts operations to Dinner Key.


1931

Eastern Airlines begins domestic passenger service to Miami.


1934

Juan Trippe opens Pan Am terminal and hangar at Dinner Key.


1936

National Airlines begins domestic passenger service to Miami.


1938

Eddie Rickenbacker threatens to pull Eastern Air Lines out of Miami if the city does not build a better airport.


1939

City of Miami begins construction of Master Airport at 27th Ave and 119th St.


1942

City of Miami sells Master Airport to U.S. Navy and uses proceeds to buy Virginia Key.

City of Miami abolishes Aviation Department.


1943

Following a referendum, the City of Miami creates the Greater Miami Port Authority to build and administer seaports and airports.


1945

Following a second referendum, Dade County Port Authority (DCPA) takes over from the Greater Miami Port Authority.

Juan Trippe closes Pan American’s Dinner Key base and consolidates all operations at the 36th Street Airport.

DCPA Conducts a survey of five Dade County sites for a new airport and elects to expand the existing 36th Street Airport, due to the extensive infrastructure already in place.


1950

DCPA finishes acquiring the property for today’s Miami International Airport (MIA).


1953

DCPA begins planning the expansion and construction of present-day MIA terminal.


1959

DCPA opens new MIA terminal at 20th Street

> Airports in Miami-Dade County


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