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Dept. of Aviation Releases Economic Impact Study


Governor McDonnell Announces Virginia's Airport
System Results in $28.8 Billion Economic Impact

RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell announced today results of the Virginia Airport System Economic Impact Study which details the contributions of the state's 66 public-use airports to the Virginia economy. The independent report reveals that in 2010 Virginia's diverse system of airports:

  • Produced $28.8 billion in overall economic activity
  • Generated $11.1 billion in payroll
  • Created 259,000 jobs, representing nearly 5.5 percent of the state's total jobs

The Virginia Department of Aviation (DOAV) commissioned the study to identify the economic benefits associated with the 66 public-use airports, which include nine commercial service and 57 general aviation airports serving communities throughout Virginia. The study focused on the economic impacts created by the airports, the visitors who travel through the airports and the in-state companies that rely on the airports to support and conduct their business.

Airports economic contributions was calculated from data collected through a survey of airport managers, on-airport tenants, visitors and off-airport businesses, and data from U.S. government agencies and IMPLAN, a widely accepted economic modeling system.

"The Commonwealth's system of airports not only provides a safe and efficient means of transportation for businesses, residents and visitors, it stimulates economic growth and development," said Governor McDonnell. "We are proud of the economic contributions our airports make to our local communities and beyond."

The report notes that the airport system contributes greatly to the state's economic stability by supporting more than 250,000 jobs and generating billions in economic activity. According to the report, the state's commercial service airports account for 71 percent of the total economic activity for Virginia. In addition, Virginia's general aviation airports contribute $728 million in economic activity. The study also found that for every $1 spent at a Virginia airport an additional $3.48 in economic activity is generated.

On-airport tenants and businesses provide more than 56,000 jobs and account for $2.9 billion in payroll. In addition, they generate over $10 billion into the Virginia economy. The study also identified off-airport businesses that benefit from public use airports. The economic activity of these Virginia businesses that rely on public-use airports sustains nearly 45,000 jobs and generates $7.6 billion in sales.

"This report makes it clear that continued and increased investment in our airport system is an effective way to grow the Virginia economy," added the governor. "The airport system not only provides jobs and air transportation services, the system also contributes to enhanced quality of life and economic development."

DOAV contracted with a team headed by ICF SH&E to complete the study, which is partially funded by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Virginia Airport System Economic Impact Study is the companion to the Virginia Aerospace Economic Impact Study which was released last fall indicating that the aerospace industry contributed $7.6 billion per year to the economy of Virginia and supported 28,110 jobs in 2009 through direct, indirect and induced economic impacts. Aerospace directly employed 9,029 workers and created $4.3 billion in annual economic output in 2009. The study noted that aerospace workers are highly skilled and highly productive and are paid higher wages than the average in Virginia.

DOAV and the Virginia SATS Lab, Inc. (VSATS) are currently working with VCU to deliver the Aviation and Aerospace Workforce Analysis designed to present a comprehensive picture of Commonwealth's aviation and aerospace industry current and future workforce needs. This study will detail the skill set and personnel requirements necessary for planning and developing the future aviation and aerospace workforce to ensure Virginia has the right personnel to be competitive in this expanding industry.

The final comprehensive review of the aviation industry in Virginia is the Virginia Aviation Competitive Analysis. This analysis is planned for release in the late fall of 2011 and will look at aviation infrastructure, policy, funding and the quality of life as compared to other states. The study is expected to identify areas where Virginia can become more competitive and showcase the areas where the Commonwealth's Aviation System shines. The goal is to strengthen Virginia's ability to attract and support more aviation businesses and provide more jobs for the Commonwealth.

To read the Virginia Airport System Economic Impact Study, visit