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Airports fly high as economic engines

October 6, 2014

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A runway at Washington Dulles International Airport. Photo by Benét J. Wilson

Every town of any size wants commercial air service. and a new study makes it easy to understand why.

Preliminary numbers from a new study released by the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation found that the state’s 104 publicly owned airports accounted for a $13 billion economic impact, according to data compiled in 2012. (That’s the latest year for which the information is available.)

Breaking down the numbers further, that figure includes 123,500 jobs, $4.2 billion in annual payroll and $29.6 million in annual tax revenue.

Ohio’s seven commercial airports — Akron/Canton, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown-Warren — provided  $11.5. billion in economic impact, 106,000 jobs, $3.5 billion in annual payroll and bring in 3.6 million visitors a year to the state. (In case you’re wondering why Cincinnati’s airport was not included in the survey, it’s actually located in Northern Kentucky.)

Most states do these studies yearly or every other year. They serve as a treasure trove of hard numbers showing just how much money local communities receive from commercial and general aviation airports.  Check out this 1.54-minute video, which shows the economic benefits of Akron-Canton Airport.


In case you’d like to get some information about your airport, here are some places to check.

Federal Aviation Administration’s airport data

National Association of State Aviation Officials

Airports Council International-North America

American Association of Airport Executives


  • Benét J. Wilson

    Benét, known as the Aviation Queen, is a senior editor at TPG who is best known for being an aviation journalist for 25-plus years. Her love affair with travel and aviation began at age 6, when her Air Force family moved from California to a military...

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