New study: Sky Harbor and airport system crank out more than $44 billion in economic output

The Phoenix Airport system has a positive economic impact of more than $44 billion per year according to a new study from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. 

The system, which in addition to Phoenix Sky Harbor includes airports in Deer Valley and Goodyear, supports more 246,000 direct and indirect jobs with a payroll of nearly $15 billion annually. 

The study captured data from 2022, when domestic and international travel was still very much in pandemic recovery, and yet the study shows upticks in economic output, worker wages, and visitor spending compared to a previous study in 2016. 

By the numbers 

  • Visitor spending: increased 12% from 2016 to 2022, or $5.8 billion to $6.5 billion.
  • Spending by domestic visitors: An estimated $831 per visitor per trip.
  • Spending by international visitors: $1,002 per visitor per trip.
  • Jobs at Sky Harbor: More than 47,000
  • Domestic destinations from Sky Harbor: More than 120.
  • International destinations from Sky Harbor: 25.

From the Mayor’s Office 

“The Phoenix Airport System is a critical asset to our community and state, and this new study underscores how vital it is to our economy,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said. “Phoenix is thriving in no small part thanks to our airports, and our continued investment in them creates jobs, supports both local and global businesses, connects Phoenicians to worldwide opportunities, and leaves visitors with a desire to come back to the Valley.” 

From the business community 

  • “Arizona has all the bragging rights when it comes to its flagship international airport,” Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry president and CEO Danny Seiden said. “It’s modern, convenient, affordable, and offers destinations across the country and around the globe. Sky Harbor and the Phoenix Airport system is an indispensable part of the Arizona economy.” 
  • “As frequent travelers know, we’re so fortunate to call Phoenix Sky Harbor International our home airport. But we’re not the only ones who think so,” Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association President and CEO Kim Sabow said. “In The Wall Street Journal’s annual rankings of best airports, Sky Harbor landed in the no. 1 slot, and for good reason. With comparatively few delays, great service and amenities, and plenty of destinations, what’s not to like?” 

Bright horizons ahead 

  • During her State of the City address last week, Gallego said Phoenix is in the planning stages for a brand-new terminal.
  • In May, a new nonstop flight between Paris and Phoenix will join London and Frankfurt among the nonstop routes to Europe.

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