Airplane takes off in front of airport at sunset

America’s Airports Lift Local, Regional, and National Economies

November 13, 2018


WASHINGTON – Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) today announced the findings of its most recent economic impact study, Taking America Beyond the Horizon: The Economic Impact of Commercial Airports in 2017. The study summarizes the economic benefits that the 493 commercial airports in the U.S. make to the national economy.

“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.”

The Economic Impact of Commercial Airports in 2017 analyzes the contribution U.S. airports made to the nation’s economy during the past year, including employment numbers, payroll figures, and output generated. The study found that America’s airports have a collective national output of $1.4 trillion, resulting in a contribution of more than 7 percent to the GDP. In addition, airports support a total of 11.5 million jobs and create a total payroll of $428 billion.

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.

The Economic Impact of Commercial Airports in 2017 was prepared for ACI-NA by the CDM Smith. The complete findings of the study can be found on the ACI-NA website.


About ACI-NA

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) represents local, regional, and state governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports in the United States and Canada. ACI-NA member airports enplane more than 95 percent of the domestic and virtually all the international airline passenger and cargo traffic in North America. Approximately 380 aviation-related businesses are also members of ACI-NA, providing goods and services to airports. Collectively, U.S. airports support more than 11.5 million jobs and account for $1.4 trillion in economic activity – or more than seven percent of the total U.S. GDP. Canadian airports support 405,000 jobs and contribute C$35 billion to Canada’s GDP. Learn more at