MIAMI — Miami International Airport has served nearly 44.6 million travelers in 2016, an increase of 234,000 over 2015 that also secured the airport’s seventh-consecutive year of passenger growth, according to final audited statistics from the Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD).

Domestic passengers rose by 0.26 percent to 23.2 million, while international traffic grew by 0.82 percent to nearly 21.4 million passengers.

The record has been achieved despite a large downturn in travel between MIA and top South American markets such as Brazil and Venezuela, with challenging economic scenarios, in addition to the presence of the Zika virus in South Florida, the global gateway’s annual passenger traffic still increased by 0.53 percent.

While travel between MIA and Brazil alone – the airport’s top international market – fell 600,000 passengers in 2016, increases in other countries and domestically kept the global gateway on an upward trend.

“We had a 30-percent decrease from our busiest international market, and we still ended 2016 better than 2015,” said Emilio T González, director, Miami-Dade Aviation.

Besides the positive numbers in passenger traffic, Miami has also experienced 0.37 percent growth in freight traffic to reach 2.18 million tonnes in 2016, placing the airport among world’s top 10 hubs for international freight, with 1.9 million tonnes of international shipments and 287,953 tonnes of domestic freight.

During 2016, Miami International Airport welcomed 10 new airlines: AeroUnion, Dominican Wings; Eurowings; KF Cargo; Northern Air Cargo; PAWA Dominicana; Scandinavian Airlines; Silver Airways; Surinam Airways; and 21 Air, which brought six new international nonstop routes: Bimini, Bahamas; Cologne, Germany; Copenhagen, Denmark; Oslo, Norway; Paramaribo, Suriname; and Varadero, Cuba.

Next February, Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris will start flying to Miami from Mexico City and Guadalajara. Also, First Air will begin a weekly charter service from Mount Hope on behalf of Celebrity Cruises. Low-cost European carrier WOW Air will begin flying from Reykjavík in April, and Aer Lingus is set to start flights from Dublin in September.

“With sustained growth by hub carrier American Airlines, more international carriers on the way, and new business opportunities for our cargo airlines, we expect another prosperous year in 2017,” González said.