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Airports the Strength of the Local Economy

September 20, 2012

The results of the most recent survey of the economic impact of Louisville International Airport (SDF) and Bowman Field (LOU) were presented to the Louisville Regional Airport Authority Board at yesterday’s monthly meeting. The results show that Louisville’s airports continue to be a remarkable source of strength in the area’s economy. The University of Louisville survey revealed that in calendar year 2011 the airports:

  • Supported 64,136 total jobs, meaning that more than 9 percent of total area employment – almost one in every 10 jobs in the Metropolitan Statistical Area – is attributable to airport-related activities
  • Generated more than $7 billion in total annual business expenditures in the metropolitan area
  • Generated more than $2.28 billion in total payroll
  • Produced over $320 million in state and local tax revenues

“All of these figures are significantly larger than the previous results in 2008, meaning that even during a major nationwide economic slump, our airports were thriving, growing and providing a huge lift to our local economy through more jobs, more payroll and more taxes paid,” said Phil Lynch, chairman of the LRAA Board of Directors. The survey, conducted at three-year intervals since 1986, measures three types of economic impacts: direct, indirect and induced.

Combined, these measurements represent activities including jobs, payroll, business expenditures and taxes generated by business. 2 Lynch also noted that in 2011, Louisville International Airport and its business partners invested more than $57 million in capital projects. “Capital investments, like all other direct business activity, will create additional economic activity in the Louisville economy,” he said. At the meeting, the Board also was presented with more good news about the health of the local airports from the Airports Council International (ACI) 2011 report, showing SDF moving up one notch to ninth position on the list of the world’s largest cargo airports. Louisville International also was the only airport among the top ten to show growth in 2011.


  1.  Hong Kong, China
  2. Memphis TN, USA
  3. Shanghai, China (People’s Republic of)
  4. Anchorage AK, USA
  5. Incheon, Korea (Rep of)
  6. Paris, France
  7. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  8. Frankfurt, Germany
  9. Louisville KY, USA
  10. Tokyo, Japan Source: Airports Council International