The study, conducted by InterVISTAS, independently quantifies and documents the economic contribution of the airport industry.
ACI Europe says while airports are natural job-intensive locations, which have a direct impact on the economy, the study also looks at the significant indirect, induced and catalytic impacts of airport activities.
What sets gateways and their associated aviation partners (airlines, ground handlers, retailers, air traffic control, etc) apart from most other sectors is their ability to facilitate and generate wider economic activities, ACI Europe notes.
This specific ability boosts overall national and European economic performance it adds – reflecting the role of air connectivity in delivering increased trade, greater investments, more tourism activity and better productivity overall.
The InterVISTASstudy reveals that Europe’s airports contribute to the employment of 12.3 million people earning €365 billion in income annually, and overall, they generate €675 billion of GDP each year – accounting for 4.1% of GDP in Europe.
Arnaud Feist, president of ACI Europe and CEO of Brussels Airport Company, says: “With the European Commission now conducting a review of aviation policy and preparing a new Aviation Package, there is a need to better explain and substantiate the crucial role of air connectivity - and its interactions with the economy.
“That is what this study is about. The figures on airports’ contribution to jobs and GDP are impressive.
"They clearly show that airports and their associated aviation partners are not just providing a service to other industries and the travelling public - but that they are in fact a key driver and facilitator of economic growth and prosperity in today’s globalised world.
“While economic growth naturally supports air connectivity, increased air connectivity also supports wider economic growth. For every 10% increase in a country’s air connectivity, GDP per capita is lifted by 0.5%.”
He adds that the study also looks ahead and highlights the need to secure the potential future contribution of Europe’s airports to the economy: "Assessing the impact of the looming airport capacity crunch which has been widely documented by Eurocontrol, the study shows that if airports are not allowed to expand in line with future demand, Europe will lose the opportunity to create 2 million jobs and will forego €97 billion in economic activity each year by 2035.”