ACRP WebResource 12

PUBLISHED DATE - August 5, 2022

This website was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this website are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors.

The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the program sponsors do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers’ names may appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the research.

This website, current as of the publication date, is not subject to updating. Recommendations for a full update of content may be submitted to CRP as a new research project.

Project Information

Author Information

TRB Volunteers and Staff

What Is This Tool?

ACRP WebResource 12 will help airport staff develop a better understanding of how commercial air service supports a region’s economy. The intent is to help airports

  • Better understand how commercial air service supports local businesses and the region as a whole in order to foster additional community and business support for the airport.
  • Better communicate the airport’s contributions to different audiences.

The WebResource has explanatory material on major relevant topics, descriptions of the types of data that best link air service and economic activity, illustrations of how to measure the relationships, case studies of multiple airport regions as examples, and suggestions for communicating to regional stakeholders.

The WebResource points airport staff toward key regional economic stakeholders and helps them “speak the language” of economic development to foster better understanding and business support for the airport.

How Do I Use It?

This site includes three basic components to help users better understand and communicate the linkage between air service and regional economic activity. They are

Understanding Air Service and Regional Economic Activity

Measuring Air Service and Regional Economic Activity

Communicating the Airport’s Contributions to the Regional Economy

Users can click through each major topic in any order. Case studies highlight the relationships between air service and regional employment. The case studies cover airports of different sizes serving economies that vary substantially. The WebResource includes links to different data sources and resources to help airports identify, quantify, and relate their experiences to the regions served.

Visit the Getting Started page for more information.

Project Background

Underlying state and federal programs to assist airports with commercial aviation is an assumption that air service is vital for local economic activity. That is, governmental efforts to maintain and improve the public air system are linked to local and regional efforts to maintain or grow their economies.

Aviation’s link to tourism and the hospitality industry is clear. Airlines bring visitors into a region, where they meet with business clients, attend conventions, or enjoy leisure time on their own or with friends or family. Visitor spending in the local economy supports employment and business activity, mostly in the hospitality industry.

The relationship between air service and the local economy is not well understood. In general, studies of airports’ economic impacts relate air service to on-airport jobs, supplier industries, and impacts from visitor spending. They do not address how commercial air service supports or facilitates other businesses.

The objective of this project was to develop a guide (see ACRP Web-Only Document 53) and an online tool to help airports and their communities understand, measure, and address the relationship between air service and regional economic development. This WebResource is the online tool. Download the technical report for additional project information.

The technical report describes in detail the analyses of changes in air service and economic activity that produced the research team’s categorization of airports and economies, along with the rationales for excluding some airports.

Scope of ACRP WebResource 12

Users should understand the limits of ACRP WebResource 12 as a tool for individual airports. The WebResource can help users better understand how changes in air service can affect regional economic activity and guide users to data that may help them undertake their own analyses. The WebResource highlights applicable research and illustrates the changes that have occurred in some locations via case studies. ACRP WebResource 12 suggests methods for more clearly communicating the broad contributions that air service makes to employment and regional economic activity.

However, this WebResource is not a comprehensive source of data, nor is it a portal to models and analytical techniques that airports can use to generate estimates of the impacts that changes in air service at a particular airport might have exerted on a regional economy. That capability was beyond the scope and budget of this research. Airports that want to estimate the impacts on their regional economies from changes in air service, such as daily service to a new hub, will need to explore further.

Quick Links

Getting started