Increasingly, the airport industry and state and regional economic development agencies are recognizing that improving intercity and international connectivity through expanded air service is important to the economies of regions served by commercial airports. This recognition is prompting research to develop measures linking air service connectivity with economic development to help prioritize efforts to attract new or expanded air service and to justify efforts to retain existing air service in situations where it is threatened. Research undertaken for ACRP Report 132: The Role of U.S. Airports in the National Economy used an analysis of multifactor productivity to examine how improvements in air service connectivity between regions and selected international markets could benefit the U.S. economy. Although ACRP Report 132 established a statistical relationship between the national aviation system and the economy, its scope was limited in terms of the number of years, regions, and industries examined.
The objective of this research is to extend the findings of previous ACRP research to more clearly define the influence of changes in air service connectivity on regional economic development and explore the extent to which changes in air service affect productivity in differing industry sectors. This research will enable analysis of the economic benefits of improved air service connectivity to be tailored to state and regional geographies.