Four projects that improved passenger and cargo operations at Miami International Airport were recognised with 2022 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo).
The awards honour innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents. Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories, such as Children and Youth, Criminal Justice and Public Safety, County Administration, Information Technology, Health, Civic Engagement, Transportation, and more.
Miami-Dade County Mayor, Daniella Levine Cava, said: “Congratulations to the MIA team for this well-deserved recognition from NACo. As our community moves forward from the pandemic, innovation and customer service excellence have never been more important in Miami-Dade County than now.
“I am proud to see our Aviation Department and other departments across the County leading the way in meeting the needs of our residents and community partners.”
In the Health category, MIA’s Vaccine Outreach Program was recognised for making the COVID-19 vaccine more easily accessible to MIA employees and travellers with two airport vaccination sites from May 2021 to July 2021.
MIA’s community outreach through multiple communication channels resulted in more than 100,000 vaccinations being provided at the airport during the 10-week campaign.
The MIAVAC19 Task Force, formed by the Miami-Dade Aviation Department in late 2020 to prepare and coordinate MIA’s cargo community for the arrival and mass distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, was a winner in the Transportation category.
MIA is home to more than 27,000 square feet of refrigerated cargo space solely dedicated to handling pharmaceuticals and vaccines – the most at any US airport.
The task force’s action plan included identifying additional cooler space available outside of MIA, mapping out the airport’s parking capacity for large freighter aircraft, designating potential cargo truck parking and staging areas, and planning training sessions for freight forwarders and brokers regarding the latest federal guidelines for importing the vaccines.
During the early stages of the pandemic, MIA’s social media platforms saw a dramatic increase in customer inquiries. To better manage the high volume of questions from the public, MIA launched the automated chatbot ‘Mia’ in English and Spanish on its website in October 2020.
Since then, questions on MIA’s social media channels decreased by nearly 50%, and the chatbot has become the airport’s primary platform for customer service inquiries and COVID-19 concerns. Based on the inquiries received, MIA can more quickly adjust the information on MIA’s website and on social media, to better address specific customer issues.
MIA’s website chatbot Mia was one of the airport’s two award winners in the Information Technology category. The gateway’s other IT category winner was its Part 139 Safety Inspection app.
Major US airports like MIA require a Part 139 operational certificate from the FAA that ensures their safety. One of the requirements for the FAA certificate is a daily airfield self-inspection, which historically was performed and cataloged via paper data collection.
In 2021, MIA’s self-inspections went digital with its Operations Dashboards application. Developed in collaboration with Miami-Dade County’s Information Technology Department, the intuitive app features smart inspection forms and dashboards that help to visualise inspections and discrepancy data in real-time with digital historical data and trends instead of static data on a paper map.
“Receiving these awards would not be possible without the dedication and support of countless employees from the Aviation Department and sister county departments like Information Technology, for which I am deeply grateful,” noted MDAD’s director and CEO, Ralph Cutié.
“We look forward to delivering many more customer service enhancements at MIA in the year ahead.”
Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognise county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.
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