RALEIGH – North Carolina airports are big business for the state. According to a new report from the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Airports, the state’s public airports contribute more than $52 billion to the economy and support 307,000 jobs.

Source: NC DOT report

The state’s 10 commercial airports and 62 general aviation airports also generate $12.6 billion in personal income and $2.2 billion in state and local tax revenue, while also creating a climate that supports aviation-related and aerospace industries.

“Our network of 72 public airports, and the aviation and aerospace assets that rely on them, help move our economy forward by creating jobs, supporting business growth and connecting people and companies to markets around the globe,” said Bobby Walston, director of NCDOT’s Division of Aviation, in a statement.

The report, North Carolina: The State of Aviation, was prepared for the state by the Institute for Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State University.

Airport Activity Spurs Economic Activity

According to the report, commercial airport activity powers economic growth, beginning with 62 million annual passenger boardings. The number of passengers flying in and out of the state’s 10 commercial airports continues to grow, as do the number of flights.

The report also notes that Raleigh-Durham International Airport added 12 new non-stop destinations in 2018, is adding a direct flight to Montreal in 2019 and is actively pursuing service to the Middle East and Asia. Just this week, Frontier Airlines announced it will launch eight new cities from RDU, bringing the airport’s roster of nonstop destinations to 68.

Source: NC DOT report

Charlotte Douglas International Airport, one of the world’s 10 busiest airports, added four routes in 2017 and is in the process of adding nine more by mid-2019.

This week, Wilmington International Airport announced a 12 percent increase in annual passengers over 2017, while RDU is on track to exceed 12 million passengers served this year. The Triangle region’s airport is the second busiest airport in the state behind CLT, which as an American Airlines hub serves more than 45 million passengers a year.

Airport-Related Industries Generate Revenue for Communities

North Carolina’s commercial airports are also hubs for the processing and transport of cargo. According to the report, each year 850,000 tons of cargo valued at $23 billion passes through state airports, making North Carolina the 15th busiest state in total tons of air freight cargo moved each year and the eighth in the country for employment in air freight services.

Source: NC DOT report

FedEx, the state’s largest air cargo serving company, moves 53 percent of the state’s total while UPS moves an additional 19 percent.

However, cargo is not the only airport-related industry generating big dollars for the state. North Carolina’s public airports lease space to more than 3,300 private aircraft, generating more than $19 million in tax revenue for their communities each year. Other industries directly supported by the states airports included airport-based rental car companies, 3,300 aircraft based at airports around the state, and shops, restaurants and bars.

View the full report online.