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April 10, 2017

Analysis: Philly airport generates $15.4 billion annually for region

Philadelphia International Airport plays an important economic role in making the city a competitive attraction in the U.S. for residents and businesses, a new study shows.

On Monday, PHL officials released the results of a report on the city-owned airport's economic impact on the region, revealing $15.4 billion is annually generated by the transportation hub.

“We are very pleased with these results because they underscore the airport’s central role in the regional transportation network,” said Chellie Cameron, PHL CEO. “A busy and cost-efficient airport is essential to the health of the regional economy and will help keep Philadelphia competitive."

Analysis of PHL's impact was last conducted in 2006 before the Great Recession, several airline mergers and overhauled regulations for air travel. While the airport continues to serve as a vital service for a large American city, PHL officials will track PHL's progress every two to three years going forward.

Key factors for the airport's impact on the local economy include collecting tax revenue, providing employment opportunities and boosting tourism.

Examining both direct and indirect revenue streams, the airport generates $78 million in annual tax revenue to Philly. Meanwhile, PHL uses no tax dollars from the city to operate, making the airport a major contributor of funding.

PHL also supplies 96,300 full-time jobs to residents. The average annual income for an airport job is greater than $50,000, the report determined.

Airlines have identified PHL as a crucial route, recently adding nonstop service this year. Alaska Airlines will be adding stops to Los Angeles starting in September, and Frontier will be expanding flights to Puerto Rico this summer. Currently, PHL operates nonstop to 120 destinations and moves more than 30 million passengers each year.

"The airport brings in dollars from outside the areas to be circulated locally, making PHL both a crucial cog in the region’s economy and a catalyst for growth throughout the region," the report claims.

Despite the recent completion of interior redesigns and other facility upgrades, several projects are slated to improve flyer experience. PHL plans to lengthen a runway, install a new baggage claim, renovate restrooms and offer digital food and retail ordering from gates.

PHL officials maintained that the study's results "will serve as a baseline" to gauge growth.

Philly-based Econsult Solutions, an economic consulting firm, conducted the study.