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.
According to the recent Economic Impact of Alabama’s Six Major Commercial Service Airports on the State’s Economy report that was prepared for The Aviation Council of Alabama by Dr. M. Keivan Deravi at Economic Research Services Inc., Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport had an economic impact of $1.6 billion on the state of Alabama in 2019.
BHM’s economic impact includes $68,491,451 in direct economic impact, $436,147,730 in tourist spending, $378,479,386 induced, $478,269,839 in related industries, and 198,181,211 in general expenditures.
Payroll impact was estimated at $706 million, including direct, indirect, induced, related industries and general expenditures. Employment impact totaled 18,700 jobs, including 1,751 direct, 3,838 related to tourism and 5,579 in related industries.
Previously, an in-depth study was conducted in 2004 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.
BHM is home to four major airlines servicing 100 daily flights to 15 cities for more than 3 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 22,000 tons of cargo is shipped through BHM.
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.