The year 2020 wasn’t kind to Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) but a new aviation report that’s based on 2019 numbers shows that the airport has been a tremendously positive driver of economic activity in this region.  

According to the new report from the state, before the pandemic, PTIA was adding nearly $9 billion to the local economy annually.

The report, released on Monday, Jan. 11 by the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation, states that PTIA supports more than 30,000 local airport and aviation-related jobs in the area and contributes $8.6 billion to the local economy.

Titled “The State of Aviation,” the report finds that, in the Piedmont Triad area, the airport also contributes $204.7 million a year in local and state tax revenue, based on the 2019 data that was analyzed in the report.

The study is conducted every two years for the NC Department of Transportation by North Carolina State University’s Institute for Transportation Research and Education.  The report highlights the pre-pandemic economic impacts of the state’s public airports including PTIA.

Area economic development leaders constantly point to PTIA as a driver of development in the region – and a new aviation megasite now being completed at PTIA is expected to increase its economic benefits for local governments and residents.

PTIA Executive Director Kevin Baker, who’s had a tough year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said he was very pleased with the 2019 numbers – the most recent figures available.

“We are very happy with the numbers in this new report,” Baker stated in a Monday press release.  “One of the airport’s two key missions is to be a significant driver of the local economy. This report indicates that we are meeting that objective.”

Paul Mengert, the chairman of the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority, the board that oversees the airport, was also pleased.

“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on this and other airports, particularly on the passenger service side,” Mengert stated in the press release. “Nevertheless, this study shows that our economic development efforts are paying off and that we need to push forward with them, now more than ever.”