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Study shows Phoenix Sky Harbor has $38 billion impact on Valley economy

(Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Photo)

PHOENIX — An Arizona State University study said Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has an annual economic impact of more than $38 billion.

“Phoenix Sky Harbor, with expanding international flights, convenience to downtown and easy connections to mass transit, is the engine that drives our regional economy,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said in a press release.

The study from ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business said the airport’s economic impact has increased more than 35 percent in the past six years.

While the number may seem gigantic, Sky Harbor Assistant Director Deb Ostreicher said it takes into account numerous factors when it comes to traveler spending.

“What makes up that number is the amount people are spending not only to support that flight, but when they stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and take advantage of our services,” she said.

The study also said, while the airport directly employed about 45,000 people, it was responsible for supporting more than 269,000 jobs in the area. That includes jobs that likely have little or no interaction with travelers.

“Nearly 1,000 tons of air freight were handled in the year that this was measured,” Ostreicher said. “That is a lot of goods coming and going from Sky Harbor.”

A further break down of the numbers showed Sky Harbor contributed about $106 million daily to the Valley’s economy from more than 1,200 flights.

International flights accounted for $3.4 billion of annual economic impact. A British Airways route between London and Phoenix was the most profitable, with an annual impact of about $480 million.

The route was so popular that British Airways announced late last year it would add a second flight between the two cities.

KTAR’s Tom Perumean contributed to this report.

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