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2003 - 2004 University Scholar
Mentor: David Denslow
College of Business
Miami International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, currently ranked
20th among Atlanta's Hartsfield, Chicago's O'Hare and London's Heathrow. But that could
all change soon, according to USP student Aaron Horowitz.
A senior majoring in decision and information sciences, Aaron is examining the different
factors affecting the airport and trying to predict whether it will continue to prosper or if
it will find itself in a predicament in the coming years. "The airline industry as a whole
fluctuates a lot," he says. "But in our changing society, Miami International may
experience an unusually high percentage of fiscal instability due to its distinct
Situated on the southern tip of Florida, Miami is often the first stop for passengers
traveling into the United States from Latin America, accounting for 70 percent of the
airport's traffic. However, neighboring Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport,
just 30 miles north, is slowly eating away at Miami International's business.
Aaron, who grew up in Hollywood, Florida using both airports, explains that Ft.
Lauderdale/Hollywood as a smaller airport services many discount airlines such as
Frontier, JetBlue and AirTran. These airlines offer inexpensive rates through their own
corporate Web sites. He says travelers looking for a bargain book with these discount
airlines, which systematically fly in and out of Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood, bypassing Miami
entirely. In 2002, Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood grew to the 30th busiest airport in the US,
according to the North American Traffic Report.
Another problem Aaron discusses is online reservation sites, such as expedia.com and
priceline.com, which were originally created to help the larger airline corporations sell
unused tickets. "Now," Aaron says. "They have become one of the main means for you
and me to fly. This shift has created a problem for the big airlines that usually use price
discrimination in charging passengers because they now have to sell the ticket for less
than they want to charge. This leads to undermining revenues, decreasing profits and
making it difficult to support their huge overhead. Miami International, in turn, suffers as
the airlines are slowly unable to share usual profits with the hub."
Aaron says in time, as more Latin Americans start purchasing their airfare over the
Internet through discount airlines and through online reservation sites, Miami
International Airport will lose a large portion of its business to Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood.
"Latin Americans first fly to Miami and then the rest of the country," he says. "The Latin
American countries haven't adopted using the Internet as fast as we have. As they start
using the Internet and visiting these Web sites, they are going to start flying with these
small airlines and cut into Miami's traffic and start flying into Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood.
Why? Because it's cheaper."
To make matters worse, Miami International is in the middle of a multi-billion dollar
expansion project, a project it may not have the money to complete. "I don't know what
is going to happen to Miami International Airport," Aaron says. "But I project that Ft.
Lauderdale/Hollywood will continue to grow both physically and fiscally, leaving Miami
International in a precarious situation."
Under the guidance of David Denslow, a well-known UF economist, Aaron is expanding
his USP paper in hopes of publishing it in a major business journal. He is slated to
graduate in spring 2004 with a current 4.0 GPA and hopes to attend law school next fall.
Eventually, Aaron would like to join his sister Elana, who holds a BA in English and a JD
from UF, in a law practice specializing in intellectual property law in South Florida.
"I want to litigate and deal with copyrights, trademarks and anything intangible," Aaron
says. He has been interested in intellectual property rights since starting his own Web
site design company, LogicLeap Technologies, Inc., at age 12.
At UF, Aaron founded the Intellectual Property Law Association, an interest group for
undergraduates. He is also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars,
Golden Key International Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the business
honorary Beta Gamma Sigma. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys playing jazz on his
trumpet and following his fascination with astrophysics.
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