Airports are more than runways and terminals. Airports are powerful engines of economic growth and possibility for local communities across the United States. In Taking America Beyond the Horizon: The Economic Impact of Commercial Service Airports in 2017, we are pleased to announce the total economic output of U.S. commercial airports now exceeds $1.4 trillion, supporting more than 11.5 million jobs with a payroll of more than $428 billion. The study, which summarizes the economic benefits that the 493 commercial airports in the U.S. make to the national economy, also found that America’s airports account for more than 7 percent of U.S. GDP.
Since ACI-NA last conducted this study in 2013, the total economic output of America’s airports has increased 24 percent. As the economy has recovered from the significant economic downturn experienced in 2007 to 2013, the unemployment rate has decreased and discretionary spending has increased. As such, enplanements nationwide have dramatically improved, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 3.8 percent.
Last year, more than 1.8 billion passengers arrived at and departed from North America’s airports. Globally, airport traffic surpassed 8.2 billion passengers. Airports Council International predicts that airports will see global passenger traffic double by 2034.
“America’s airports are powerful economic engines, and this study reaffirms the valuable role airports play in job creation and economic growth in local communities,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “But, airports have significant unmet infrastructure needs that threaten their ability to serve their passengers and support their local communities. With travel only expected to rise in the upcoming years, we must continue our work to provide airports with the tools they need to meet the growing demands of the future with safe, competitive, and modern facilities.”
Prepared for ACI-NA by the firm CDM Smith, this study analyzes the contribution U.S. airports made to the nation’s economy in 2017, including employment numbers, payroll figures, and output generated.