Charleston International Airport pumps more than $1 billion dollars into the region’s economy through the jobs at its terminal and those jobs created as a result of visiting air travelers. In addition, the airport renovation and expansion and other capital projects have so far created 1,400 local jobs and added $211 million to the local economy.
That’s according to a new study by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce that examines the economic impact of the Charleston International Airport Aviation Complex, which includes Joint Base Charleston and Boeing South Carolina. The study was conducted by the chamber’s Center for Business Research. Highlights were presented to the Charleston County Aviation Authority Board on Thursday.
“The economic impact of the aviation complex at Charleston International Airport is extensive, not only in the number and diversity of jobs it sustains, but also the billions of dollars it injects into the Charleston region,” the report states.
The study used 2013 data of 2.9 million passengers coming in and out of the airport. In 2014 the airport set a record of 3.1 million passengers. Combined with growth in retail and food and beverage concessions due to the terminal expansion and the increased number of flights offered along with two new airlines setting up shop, the stage is set for unprecedented growth at CHS.
“We have long known Charleston International Airport has played a significant role in the region’s economy by serving as a gateway for travelers from around the world,” said Paul G. Campbell Jr., director of airports. “Now it is clear that the airport, along with Joint Base Charleston and Boeing South Carolina, are a strong economic force in the region. We fully expect that as the airport continues to grow, our impact on the region will continue to be felt for years to come.”
The study also found that the airport creates more than $200 million in income for workers and businesses in the region and that visiting passengers spend an estimated $450 million on local accommodations, attractions, dining and shopping, sustaining more than 6,000 jobs and $196 million in income. The result of visiting passengers is a total economic impact of $569 million.
Joint Base Charleston and Boeing continue to be major economic forces in the region. Joint Base Charleston employs 7,300 active duty and civilian workers. It has an economic impact of $1.7 billion.
The Boeing Company’s facilities now directly employ 8,200 workers in the Charleston region in one of the highest impact sectors an economy can have—aircraft and aircraft parts anufacturing—sustaining another 20,000 jobs in the region with the spin-off effect. The total estimated impact of Boeing’s local employment is more than $11 billion in economic activity in the Charleston Metro Area.