Airports – Vitally Important To Our Communities!

The Economic Impact of Commercial Aviation
by Dan McDowell

In a recent economic impact study produced for ACI-International-North America, its president Greg Principato stated, “Airports play an important but often underappreciated role as economic engines that create jobs and opportunities in communities across the country, a fact that was highlighted in our recently released economic impact study. In fact, Americas commercial airports account for more than 8% of national gross domestic product and support more than 7% of the country’s work force.”

Principato further stated, “Having a vibrant and efficient airport is essential when trying to attract new businesses to America’s communities. The economic importance of airports has continued to grow even during the recent economic downturn as airports and airport-related industries continue to add jobs and increase revenues within their communities.”

The ACI International-NA report clearly stated that ‘America’s commercial airports also contribute indirectly by attracting new businesses and helping communities retain local companies by working to provide the services that connect them to the world.’

The report noted that Americans value what airports bring home. Surveys show Americans view their hometown airport as more important than other transportation services to their local economy. They feel their airports are:

• Business magnets.
• Part of the community.
• Locally owned and operated.
• Productive landlords.
• Largely funded by those who use them.

Oh yes, here is one more important bit of information for you to remember and to SHARE with your community and community leaders: The 490 U.S. commercial airports were responsible for 10.5 million jobs, created an annual payroll of $365 billion, and produced an annual output of $1.2 trillion in 2010, according to an Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) study. The combined economic impact of airport-connected activity represents 8% of U.S. GDP and 7% of overall U.S. employment in 2010.

**All the information contained in this brief article is derived from the NCI-NA 2001 data, “The Economic Impact of U.S. Airports 2002;” CDM Smith, “The Economic Impact of Commercial Aviation in 2010;” and the ACI-NA fact sheet (

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