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NEWS Last modified on October 18, 2011

Houston airports generate $27.6bn for economy

A new economic impact study has found that Houston’s three airports pumped $27.6 billion into the area's economy last year.

A new economic impact study has found that Houston’s three airports pumped $27.6 billion into the area's economy last year.

The Houston Airport System has revealed that its three airports – George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Hobby and Ellington Airport – generated $27.6 billion for the local economy in 2010.

It is the first economic impact analysis to be done at the Houston Airport System since 2004, when the airports generated $24.2 billion for the economy.

As a result, the study attributed the higher numbers to growth of airline flights at Hobby and George Bush Intercontinental airports.

Presenting the findings to a Greater Houston Partnership aviation committee last week, Kirk Rummel, chief financial officer of the Houston Airport System, said that in particular, "Southwest and United and Continental have really increased their operations."

According to the report, in terms of direct impact the three airports employ 47,456 staff and generate $8.7 billion in earnings from passenger, cargo, government and private air transportation business.

Meanwhile, the study calculated that $18.9 billion was created by indirect economic effects such as spending by air visitors ($3.7 billion), as well as induced effects - spending by recipients of direct and indirect spending ($15.2 billion).

The gateway with the largest economic impact in 2010 was George Bush Intercontinental Airport, which, according to the report, generated $22.5 billion and accounted for 82% of the total impact.

This was followed by Hobby Airport, which pumped $4.5 billion into the economy, and Ellington Airport which generated $641.1 million.

The three Houston Airport System airports are responsible for more than 234,000 full time equivalent jobs in the region, and generating $8.8 billion in employee and proprietor earnings.

Direct, indirect and induced employment impacts at the airports exceed 47,000, 47,500 and 139,000 full time equivalent jobs, respectively.

Therefore, Houston Airport System employment generates earnings of more $3.1 billion for direct employment, $1.1 billion for indirect employment and $4.5 billion for induced employment.

Of these impacts, $27.1 billion represents the impacts from the production and use of air transportation and selected services and visitor spending, while $434 million represents the annual average impact of capital spending on airport infrastructure.

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