Washington's Airports Fuel Economy

Published: June 07, 1999


Alexandria, VA— A recently-completed study conducted for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority shows that Ronald Reagan Washington National and Washington Dulles International Airports generate $6.5 billion for the local economy and provide over 25,000 jobs in the region.

The study, based on 1998 statistics, provides a quantitative analysis of the benefits associated with operation of the two airports, which served nearly 32 million passengers and moved 878.5 million pounds of air freight that year.

Since the last economic impact study done in 1995, air passenger traffic has grown by 3.9 million passengers and air cargo has increased by 120 million pounds.

In the intervening years since the previous study was conducted, business revenue increased by $1 billion to an all time high of $6.5 billion; state and local taxes, paid by employees and businesses at the airports, increased by more than $30 million to $230 million and the federal government received $505 million in airport-specific taxes -- a $104 million increase.

The correlation between the region’s tourism sector and the area’s airports as gateways for travelers was seen in the impact of the 8.4 million visitors who arrived at Dulles or National in l998 -- an increase of over 2 million passengers. These travelers spent an estimated $4.9 billion in the area’s tourism industry.

Air cargo activity is also on the upswing, particularly at Dulles Airport which handles eighty-nine per cent of cargo for the Washington airports. The value of air freight handled at Dulles each year is estimated at $12.4 billion. Air cargo activity generated more than 2,200 jobs in the local economy in 1998.

The Airports Authority’s ongoing Capital Development construction program to expand Dulles and improve facilities at National included an investment of $88 million in 1998 alone. The additional importance of this construction to the local and regional economy is shown in the nearly 1,900 jobs supported annually by the expansion and improvement projects.

While these are 1998 figures, Washington Dulles International Airport has seen dramatic new growth in 1999 with several airlines increasing the number of flights and destinations served by Dulles.

A combination of the strong economy, increased airline service, construction along the Dulles Corridor, and the continuing increase in the presence of high tech businesses near Dulles has required that the construction program at the airport continue to add facilities and parking and roadway improvements to serve the increased use of the airport.