Airport contributes $12 billion to region annually, study shows

SAN DIEGO — San Diego International Airport contributes nearly $12 billion annually to the region’s economy, according to a study released Tuesday.

The study compared 2017 economic data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the San Diego Tourism Authority, the Airport Authority and on- site airport tenants to measure the direct and indirect economic impacts generated by SAN, formerly known as Lindbergh Field.

Airport-supported employment has increased by 31 percent since the study was last done in 2013, and SAN now supports 5.7 percent of people employed in the San Diego region. The nearly 118,000 residents in the area employed directly or indirectly due to activities at the airport, as of 2017, accounted for $3.9 billion in annual payroll and $11.7 billion in annual economic output, the study found.

“This study highlights the airport’s role as far more than a vital transportation resource for the San Diego region,” said Airport Authority President and CEO Kimberly Becker.  “SAN is a regional asset that is also a major economic driver and job creator, constantly looking at ways to improve the passenger experience and help the region become increasingly global.”

Since the last study, the airport has expanded its second terminal and added a rental car center, Terminal 2 parking plaza, international arrivals facility and an on-airport roadway.

In addition to its supported employment, the airport’s passenger traffic has increased 27.2 percent since 2013, from 17.3 million passengers to 22 million last year. With the increased traffic and 21 passenger airlines serving San Diego International, it is “the busiest single-runway commercial service airport in the United States,” according to the study.