Update: Miami International Airport adds European flights, first A-380 service, premium lounge

After setting a new passenger record in 2010, Miami International Airport is busy expanding and upgrading its operations, especially for international passengers. Some highlights:

A-380 service starts in June: Lufthansa will start the first scheduled service at MIA using the giant A-380 aircraft, the world’s  largest passenger aircraft. The German airline will fly the jets daily between Frankfurt and MIA, starting June 10. The A380 used will be configured to hold 526 passengers, with eight in first class, 98 in business and 420 in economy. Fares will be the same as on flights with other jets.

For more information, visit www.lufthansa.com.

Direct flights to Barcelona: Iberia late March launched three-times a week service between MIA and Spain’s Barcelona, the first direct service to that European cultural capital. The routes will be served with A340 wide-body jets. Iberia expects to carry 53,000 passengers on the route in the first year, including many cruise ship passengers. The Spanish airline estimates about 20 percent of arrivals from MIA will be passengers boarding cruises in Barcelona.

For more information, visit www.iberia.com

More Amsterdam, Lisbon and London service:  The Netherlands’ KLM airline began four non-stop flights a week to Miami in March on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Later this year, Dutch low-cost airline Arkefly is to begin twice a week service to Amsterdam. TAP Portugal is to start five weekly flights to Lisbon in June. Delta Airlines also has added a daily flight from MIA to London’s Heathrow.

For more on the airlines, visit www.klm.com, www.arkefly.nl, www.flytap.com and www.delta.com.

New premium passenger lounge: American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia opened a joint premium lounge in Concourse E beyond the security checkpoint on the fifth floor. The facility is open to select  passengers: oneworld eligible International Business Class, Business Class, Emerald and Sapphire customers.  Customers traveling on AA-operated transcontinental full-fare first-class, full-fare business class and Admirals Club members departing from Concourse E also may access the lounge.

The 6,000 square foot premium lounge is open from 1pm to 9pm daily. It has seating for 120 guests, with free food and drinks. It also has computer work stations with high-speed Internet access, flat-screen TVs, a children’s play area and spa-like showers.

American, British Airways and Iberia are cooperating on transcontinental service.

Passenger traffic soars:  After 5 percent growth last year to a record 35.7 million passengers, MIA saw its passenger traffic grow 6 percent in January and 8 percent in February. Business has been fueled by American Airlines, which added 30 flights a day in 2010 and plans to increase service to at least eight additional destinations this year, MIA said in a statement.

For more information on Miami International Airport, visit www.miami-airport.com.