Orville and Wilbur Wright had absolutely no idea that they had invented the most important means of transportation for our time. More than a hundred years later, we use our skies to transport thousands of people and goods to their destinations every day. Incredibly, commercial air travel is the safest way to travel statistically; it’s safer than driving, going by train, and even walking. Aviation presented our society with wonderful potential and we seized it and grew. We know that if the world can come to your city through aviation, the economic benefits are enormous.
A Closer Look: Dallas, Texas: One City with Two Airports
Taking a closer look at the economic benefits of aviation, we will focus on Dallas, Texas. A city with two airports: Love Field and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. For years the Wright Amendment of 1979 restricted air travel in North Texas and severely limited the potential of Dallas’s city airport, Love Field, which was thought to be unable to handle increased air traffic. Instead, The Federal Aviation Administration promoted a more removed regional airport, which we know as Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The amendment prevented regular commercial aircraft at Love Field from flying anywhere except in Texas and its neighboring states. DFW International grew to be a huge hub for airlines, holding 155 gates and serving 204 destinations around the world. The effects of this airport since its opening in the 70’s have been simply tremendous growth in the North Texas region.
Change is in the Air
On October 13, 2014, the Wright Amendment of 1979 was repealed, and airlines were now able to fly from Love Field to any destination in America! Now we are beginning to see the potential of a large airport operating centrally located in this city. This time we will witness the effects of an airport on a more precise scale and a smaller area—Dallas’s urban area. Love Field is growing. Southwest Airlines is adding more destinations from Love Field and in January they recorded a 47.6 percent increase in passenger travel at the airport. Those are staggering numbers for an increase in circulation, both in terms of financial capital and passengers plainly traveling through the airport.
Huge Economic Benefit for Dallas
So what does this mean for Dallas? It will no doubt mean a huge economic benefit for the city. More jobs at the airport generate more disposable income for the workers and more money circulating in Dallas’s economy. Besides the new jobs created at the airport, its optimal location will bring thousands of new visitors to Dallas for both business and leisure. Now people going to Dallas’s central business district will choose the closer location, as DFW is significantly farther. The visitors flying in will enjoy restaurants and stay in hotels, and the tourism directly benefits the area. But even better, injecting the city’s market with so many exogenous purchases will precipitate the multiplier effect, a key component of Keynesian economics. Initial spending leads to increased consumption spending and endogenous transactions within the city resulting in a multiplied outcome for the overall gross domestic product (GDP) of the area. More transactions are taking place at an increasing rate and the aggregate demand will significantly increase—yielding economic growth that is extremely beneficial for the community.
The Economic Benefits of Aviation Worldwide
Just like this recent change for Dallas’s Love Field is a huge economic infusion, aviation is creating economic growth worldwide. According to Boeing’s current market outlook for 2015: “As aviation continues to become an integral part of life, it is bringing people closer together. As emerging markets continue to grow and new business models expand, airplane manufacturers are seeing greater geographical diversity in their customer base. In 1993, more than 73 percent of all traffic was carried by airlines in Europe or North America. By 2033, that proportion will shrink to 38 percent. Asia Pacific and Middle East airlines are becoming prominent in global aviation. The low-cost business model is becoming a viable option in emerging markets, offering consumers access to a wider range of destinations and the opportunity to choose the speed and convenience of flying over traditional modes of transportation. In addition, modern twin-aisle airplanes enable smaller operators in developing economies to compete on longer routes traditionally dominated by foreign carriers. Rapidly evolving aviation services in these regions are broadening the geographical balance of airplane demand, spurring a worldwide requirement for 36,770 new jet airplanes, valued at $5.2 trillion.” Besides the huge impact this growth has for major companies like Boeing, cities worldwide will feel the economic benefit both directly and indirectly as the world becomes more connected through aviation!