Facts, Challenges and Solutions for Continued Growth
Access to efficient and reliable air transportation is key to the continued growth of New York’s regional economy. The region’s three high-volume airports, JFK International, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty, handle nearly 110 million passengers a year and employ over 70,000 people. In 2012, the airports’ aviation operations, capital spending, and tourism resulted in $63 billion in economic activity in the region and were responsible for 448,000 jobs. Those jobs total $22.8 billion in wages averaging $51,000, which is higher than 75% of all incomes in the United States.
Each of New York’s metropolitan airports provides hundreds of thousands of jobs to the region, either directly or indirectly. In addition, these jobs have high average wages that support families throughout New York and New Jersey.
Overall, the airports create or support more than 448,000 jobs, with an airport by airport breakdown of 213,000 for JFK, 147,000 for Newark and 87,000 for LaGuardia.
Tourists coming to the region overwhelmingly rely on area airports to provide them with transportation. Local airports see 1.3 million flights a year, 280,000 of which are international, and reach over 200 cities around the world. Last year, 19.5 million domestic and international visitors entered the region by air, providing a substantial boon to the regional economy. During their visits, these tourists spent over $20 billion on shopping, lodging, meals, entertainment and local ground transportation which in total created 193,000 local jobs and represents a huge ancillary boost to the region.
In 2012, the regional airport system handled more than two million tons of cargo with the majority of it coming through JFK International Airport, the seventh largest cargo airport in the country. JFK’s status as a Foreign-Trade Zone makes it an attractive destination for international businesses and encourages trade and economic growth through cargo transportation, as is evident by the 1,000 cargo companies that are based at JFK. Within the region, cargo operations created nearly $10 billion in economic activity, resulting in over 54,000 jobs with an average wage of $63,000.
In 2012, Capital spending accounted for $340 million of the economic impact generated by the airports, and more than 1,500 jobs. The Port Authority and the airlines’ long term modernization efforts like the Central Terminal Building at LaGuardia, Terminal A at Newark, and runway and taxiway extensions and improvements have each created hundreds of construction jobs that have lasted for multiple years.
Continuing the Growth
The FAA has embarked upon a series of procedural changes with projects such as NextGen, which is aimed at reducing delays and increasing air cargo capability. Infrastructure upgrades at JFK, (the recently completed Terminal 4 expansion and earlier projects at Terminal 5), EWR (Terminal C), and LGA (the upcoming Central Terminal Building project) are the type of upgrades our airports need to improve operations and increase the number of amenities and services available to passengers.
Further investment in infrastructure and improvements in operations are needed to reduce flight delays and streamline onsite traffic patterns, while improved transit access is necessary to provide business and leisure travelers with a one-seat ride to and from our airports. Now is the time to work together and transform the airports in order to provide the region with the facilities it both needs and deserves.
Facts and Figures