The Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) is a vital and growing economic catalyst. The airport provides commercial air operations and facilitates general aviation services for businesses and individuals across the state.
To further illustrate its impact on the Birmingham region, an in-depth study was conducted by economists at the Auburn University Montgomery Center for Business and Economic Development. The final report showed 2,255 full-time jobs were directly attributed to the businesses located on the campus of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport with an estimated combined payroll of $105 million. When surveyed, these on-site businesses reported adding a total of $140 million to the local economy for operation and maintenance, bringing a direct, non-multiplied economic addition of $245 million to the Birmingham MSA.
Passenger surveys conducted as part of the study indicated a further impact on the region. When interviewed, visitors flying in from another city revealed that they spent an average of $177.22 per day while staying in the city and stayed an average of 3.4 nights. Once calculated, the report indicated $285 million in airport-generated tourist expenditures. The tourism expenditures were further induced to show its impact on the region and added an additional $243 million that otherwise would not have been generated in the Birmingham economy.
The direct, indirect and induced spending results combine to form a total of $567 million, which represents the total spending impact of the aviation activities of BHM. In addition, research showed other local aviation-related expenditures deposited $426 million into the region’s economy.
When combined, the spending-generated and expenditure-reported totals amount to nearly $1 billion annual economic impact of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on the economy of the Birmingham region, as well as 16,000 direct and indirect jobs and more than $444 million of additional payroll to the Birmingham MSA.
In FY 2005, Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport received more than $17 million in federal grants, bringing a five year total of more than $72 million to Birmingham and speaking directly to the FAA’s confidence in Birmingham. These funds were allocated for and spent on capital projects performed by local contractors and consultants, further increasing the overall value of the airport to the local economy.
BHM is home to four major airlines servicing 100 daily flights to 23 cities for more than 2.6 million passengers each year. By maintaining a clean and fresh terminal with modern travel amenities, the Airport Authority is able to provide safe, convenient, accessible air service as well as world class customer service for the benefit of all citizens, business and visitors.
As well, Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport serves as a significant distribution point for air cargo in central Alabama. Nearly 34,000 tons of cargo was shipped through BHM in 2005, a number that is expected to increase as the new Air Cargo Complex comes on line. The new complex will include approximately 400,000 sq. ft. of additional cargo apron and taxiway as well as warehouse space. The completion of the 2,000-foot extension of runway 6-24 will offer added value to the cargo market as it allows for the take-off of a fully-fueled, fully-loaded 747 aircraft to take off for an overseas destination.
As the Authority continues to move forward with the responsible growth necessary for such a thriving economic engine, the positive impact on the recruitment of related industries for Birmingham will continue as well.