Photo courtesy of Miami Dade Aviation Department
How Many Airports Are There In Miami?
Flying to Miami for most people means flying to Miami International Airport (MIA). Greater Miami (Palm Beach, Ft Lauderdale, and Miami) is the 7th largest metropolitan area in the United States and is about 100 miles long. There is a demand for people coming to Miami and moving around the area that goes beyond one airport. Business travelers or tourists often will visit South Florida and make a secondary trip to the Bahamas, Orlando, or the Keys. Aside from MIA the area has numerous public and private airports, heliports, and seaplane bases available depending on your needs.
Miami is served by multiple airports. The principal airport being Miami International Airport. Other airports include Homestead General Aviation Airport, Miami Executive Airport, General Aviation Center, Miami-Opa-Locka Executive, Dade-Collier Training & Transition Airport, and the Miami Seaplane Base.
The distances between destinations from Palm Beach to the Keys require a multitude of options for travelers. A car ride from Miami to Key West can be around 3 hours & 15 minutes depending on traffic. Going from Palm Beach can up that to at least 4 hours & 30 minutes. While the car drive is scenic, it can be prohibitive when the roundtrip adds up to 8 or 9 hours.
Luckily, there are a number of alternatives to MIA for short hops or even international travel. A number of charter flights and even big commercial operators use General Aviation and Reliever Airports for just this purpose. There are even seaplane charters that can add an amazing dimension to a day trip to Atlantis in the Bahamas, Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, or a business meeting in Key West.
Miami International Airport: Miami's Primary Commercial Airport
Miami International Airport (MIA), located on over 3,000 acres of land is just West of downtown Miami, Operated by the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, it is owned by Miami-Dade County. MIA is the primary commercial hub for air travel in Miami. Founded in 1928, MIA offers more flights to Latin America and the Caribbean than any other U.S. airport. There are over 100 air carriers serving 45 million travelers to and from 59 domestic and 104 international destinations.
If you need something they probably have it. MIA has extensive food & dining, shopping, a 259 room hotel on site, currency exchange, VIP clubs & lounges, a SPA, a Yoga room, a chapel, animal services, a massive car rental facility, and over 8,000 parking spaces. I am probably missing a few things, but you get the picture.
Ground transport includes car rentals, taxis, hotel shuttles, Uber & Lyft. If you need to make it across terminals, there are moving walkways on Level 3 and there is the SkyTrain to travel the length of the North Terminal Concourse D with 4 stops along the way. SkyTrain arrives every 3 minutes. Concourse D can also be walked but it is a mile long and can take around 30 minutes.
Business, Private Charter, and General Aviation
For business or private jet charter needs see MIA - General Aviation Center in the next section. The MIA - General Aviation Center handles Fixed Based Operator (FBO) services for MIA.
An FBO is the private jet terminal at an airport, often apart from the main airport buildings which offer a range of services for private jet customers, aircraft and crew. When you charter a private plane, you are usually departing from a fixed based operator.
FBO's usually provide private and business charters services such as private terminals, fueling services, aircraft maintenance, flight training, catering or dining, ground transportation, tie down and hangar services.
General Aviation Airports are civilian airports that do not have scheduled passenger service. These airports usually serve private aircraft, business jets, and charter jet operations.
In addition to primary hub airports, there are a number of general aviation airports for visitors to Miami and South Florida. These include primary hub airports, small charter aircraft operations, seaplane bases, and heliports. Next we will review Miami/South Florida's other airports.
All photos courtesy of Miami Dade Aviation Department
Other Airports Serving Miami
MIA General Aviation Center
The General Aviation Center is operated by the Miami-Dade Aviation Department and offers services to private flights 24/7, every day of the year. The GAC also houses US Customs and Border Protection clearing for arriving international flights including private, charter, and cargo flights. GAC's FBO is Signature Flight Support .
Miami-Opa locka Executive is located 7 miles North of Miami International Airport and 3 miles from Hard Rock Stadium. OPF is open 24/7 handling private and business flights. It serves as a reliever for Miami International Airport.
Miami Homestead General Aviation Airport
Located three miles northwest of the City of Homestead, Homestead General Aviation Airport offers general aviation services with no landing fees. The airport is adjacent to Everglades National Park and 25 minutes from Biscayne National Park. It is about 45 minutes from the entrance to Key Largo.
Miami Executive Airport
Miami Executive Airport is 1 hour away from Key Largo by car. The Everglades and Biscayne National Parks are also within an hours drive. The airport serves primarily business, recreational, and private flights.
Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport
Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport is located approximately 40 miles to the west of Miami near the Collier and Miami-Dade County border. The Airport is relatively isolated within the Everglades. Access to the airport is via US-41 which runs east-west between Naples and Miami. The airport covers 24,960 acres with only one runway less than 25 landings and take-offs per day.
Miami Seaplane Base
Miami Seaplane Base is a public use airport located on Watson Island directly east of the Miami skyline on the MacArthur Causeway. As of 2021 Miami Seaplane is constructing a state-of-the-art facility that will make it one of the country's premiere seaplane bases in America. There are scheduled flights on select days of the week to Bimini.
There are a number of seaplane landing sites in the Florida Keys including: Marathon, Islamorada, Big Pine Key, and Key Largo. Tropic Ocean Airways seaplane flights originate from Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Miami Seaplane Base. They offer easy and quick service to the Bahamas and back. Tropic Ocean Airways is also available for a private seaplane charter to Little Palm Island Resort in Key Largo. Connecting from major carriers to your private seaplane charter at MIA's General Aviation Center is a spectacular way to arrive to your getaway.
Simple Charters has seaplane charters to a number of destinations including Plantation Key Seaplane Base in Marathon, Florida.
Key West Seaplane Adventures to Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson is one unique unforgettable day trip to the most inaccessible National Park in the United States.
Whatever your business or recreational needs are, you will find plenty of options for hopping around South Florida or the Bahamas at the available general aviation airports and private charters.
Other Airports Serving South Florida - Palm Beach to Key West
Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport
The primary commercial hub serving Fort Lauderdale with around 36 million passengers a year. It is operated by the Broward County Aviation Department. The airport has two runways and occupies 1,380 acres. It is found 3 miles (5 km) southwest of downtown Fort Lauderdale and 21 miles (34 km) north of Miami.
The airport serves the Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, and Boca Raton areas. Many will fly into Fort Lauderdale when heading to Miami for the lower rates. While smaller than MIA, there are 700 daily flights to and from 135 destinations daily. It is the airport of choice for those that will be sailing out of the cruise ship terminals at Port Everglades.
Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport
Located on 1,000 acres north of downtown Fort Lauderdale, this general aviation airport handles over 170,000 operations a year. There are 4 FBO's including Banyan Air Services, Fort Lauderdale Executive Jet Center, Lynx FBO, and W Aviation. They provides general aviation needs for corporate and private charter aviation.
There is a United States Customs & Border Protection facility, enabling international flights to fly directly into the Fort Lauderdale Airport without the need to first stop at another airport to go through customs.
North Perry Airport
North Perry is a general aviation airport for charter, private, and business activity located in Pembroke Pines. There are two runways handling around 140,000 operations a year. It is publicly owned and operated by the Broward County Aviation Department.
Pompano Beach Airpark
This is a public general aviation facility, and is owned and operated by the City of Pompano Beach. Goodyear has a 45,000 square foot blimp hangar on site. The hanger is large enough to store two fully-inflated blimps. FBO's include Sheltair Aviation, Pompano Aviation, and Goodyear Airship Operations. The airport occupies 650 acres and has 3 runways. There are nearly 170,000 aircraft operations yearly.
Downtown Fort Lauderdale Heliport (Roof Top Facility)
A public use concrete helipad in downtown Fort Lauderdale atop the 9th floor of the Central Park Mall Parking Garage. It provides for 200 to 300 operations per year.
Ocean Reef Club Airport (Key Largo - private)
The airport is private and has no scheduled airline service. All aircraft must be registered before landing.
Florida Keys Marathon Airport
A public general aviation airport serving Marathon. The airport occupies 197 acres and has a single runway. It contains a U.S. Customs & Border Protection operation for international arrivals. Onsite operators include Marathon General Aviation and Marathon Jet Center. The airport currently does not have any scheduled passenger airline flights but does have charter air service.
Key West International Airport
The airport has regularly scheduled service by Delta, United, Silver Airlines, and American Airlines. There is one runway but they handle over 800,000 passengers yearly. There are also 31,000 general aviation aircraft operations a year.
Palm Beach County
Palm Beach International Airport
Located 3.5 miles west of Palm Beach, the airport has a 24 hour control tower and a U.S. Customs & Immigration facility. There are 4 FBO's including Atlantic Aviation, Jet Aviation, Signature Flight Support, and NetJets. It is the primary airport for Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Wellington, Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter. PBI is located on 2,120 acres with 3 runways and serves over 6 million passengers a year. Carriers with scheduled flights include JetBlue, Delta, American, United, and Southwest.
The Palm Beach Aviation Department also operates: North Palm Beach County General Aviation - Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach County Park Airport - Lantana, Palm Beach County Glades - Pahokee. Find them Here.
Boca Raton Airport
Located between I-95 and the Florida Atlantic University campus, it is midway between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale on 214 acres. The Boca Raton Airport averages over 60,000 operations annually, including private aviation, corporate travel, and air taxi operations. Boca handles single engine, multi engine, and helicopters. There are 300 aircraft based at the Airport. It offers two FBO's, Atlantic and Signature Flight Support, offering 24-hour service. There is an FAA Contract Tower located on the field. Boca also includes an onsite Customs and Border Protection facility. A Fairfield Inn hotel is located on airport property for lodging.
There are endless options for visitors and locals to move around South Florida's airways. Travelers are able to connect from major hubs to charter services and quickly reach anywhere from the Everglades to the Keys and the urban areas in between. While car trips still provide a ground view of the areas you travel through, there are also unique, one-of-a-kind views from low flying seaplanes or other charters that can't be beat.