Economic Impact of General Aviation

Survey Methodology


This report is a survey of existing information and research on the economic impact of the general aviation sector of our economy, highlighting the most recent and comprehensive work. The survey aggregates findings from national studies, state transportation and/or aviation department reports, as well as publicly available economic data. The purpose is to provide the most comprehensive overview of the impact and benefits of general aviation to our national economy, and to the individual states.

Sources: A wide variety of resources were tapped, including federal government statistics through the Federal Aviation Administration data services, standard Internet search engines and industry websites such as AirNav.com, the National Association of State Aviation Officials, the National Business Aviation Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Helicopter Association International, and the University Aviation Association, as well as many invaluable contacts in state Aeronautics, Aviation and Transportation Departments around the country. Many states have conducted economic impact studies, some more recently than others. For those states without an available report, various resources were used to compile the information. These were reviewed for appropriate statistics by state aviation officials to provide a snapshot of the economic benefit of general aviation.

It is important to note that state reports are of varying quality and scope. Many are dated, and all use widely variant methodologies. For purposes of national aggregation, or for side-by side comparison, they do not render "apples-to-apples" information.

With regard to national sources, for example, the publicly available PricewaterhouseCoopers study, Contribution of General Aviation to the US Economy in 2013, was found to be one comprehensive source for national aggregate information. The report used the following framework to define types of economic impact:

This report considers four types of economic impacts—direct, indirect, induced, and enabled—that in aggregate provide a measure of the total economic contribution of general aviation:

  1. Direct impact is economic activity within the general aviation industry,
  2. Indirect impact is economic activity occurring throughout the supply chain associated with general aviation,
  3. Induced impact is economic activity resulting from household spending of labor and proprietor’s income earned directly or indirectly from general aviation-related activities, and
  4. Enabled impact is economic activity resulting from the visitors’ destination expenditures associated with general aviation flights.

This data was then substantiated through interviews with state transportation officials, local elected officials and business leaders, all of whom spoke to the benefits of general aviation and it’s importance to local communities. Further, there was a general recognition of the value of general aviation to medical transportation, emergency relief and charitable work.