MIAMI (CBSMiami) – American Airlines has some high flying plans out of Miami International Airport.

The company has announced more take offs to more places, as it continues to grow its Miami hub.

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“We’re announcing new service from Miami to Tel Aviv beginning this summer and also the first flight from Miami to Suriname,” said American Airlines Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Raja.

Aside from the new flights to Israel and Suriname, they’re adding Little Rock, Arkansas and Portland, Maine, with plans to add more flights to current destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America and in some cases using bigger planes.

“American Airlines will continue to grow in Miami,” Raja said.  “Indeed we anticipate that by this summer, actually American Airlines will be larger in Miami than what we were prior to the pandemic.”

American said their traffic in and out of Miami is about 75% of what it was in 2019. The rest of the company is about half a large as pre-pandemic.

County officials said a strong airport translates to stronger tourism and more jobs that are tied to it.

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“This is about jobs – 275,000 local jobs,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “Miami International Airport remains our most important pillar of our economy.”

Levine Cava said expansions like this fuel the area’s growth.

“We have so many companies and people relocating right now to South Florida that this is part of the attraction, that they can get in and out.  People that can work remotely, they want to be able to get in and out,” the mayor said.

As travelers are more comfortable flying a year into the pandemic, many are looking forward to more choices that come along with increased flight schedules.

“I sometimes, I’m at home and me and my husband will say, ‘You know what? Let’s just pack up a new go.’ I would love to have flight available in that hour,” said one traveler at MIA.

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The county and the airport said they still have more plans for expansion. One place they’re looking at now is Africa.

Ted Scouten