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Economic Impacts of San Francisco International Airport

Economic Development Research Group, in association with ICF SH&E, Inc., and Polaris Research and Development, Inc.

For the San Francisco Airport Commission, EDR Group lead a team to provide a detailed and comprehensive estimate of the contribution and roles of SFO to the Bay Area economy and to the nine counties in the region: Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Research for the study included conducting a 1,500 person visitor survey, analyzing annual air traveler data to count visitors and identify those from domestic and international locations, administering a survey to account for all tenants, developing an air freight cargo analysis, estimating state, local and federal aviation tax revenues in the Bay Area and by county, and assessing the economic impacts of potential new air services.

The study found that in 2012, SFO directly accounted for $5.4 billion in business activity, supporting 33,580 jobs at the airport.

  • Airport on-site operations generated a total of $2.5 billion in state and local tax revenues.
  • Off-site business activities directly dependent on Airport services raised the Airport’s economic contribution to the whole Bay Area to $31.2 billion in business sales, with 153,000 jobs.

In addition to the scale of economic benefits generated by SFO, the study identifies the major industries in the Bay Area that are supported by aviation activities at the airport. Study results will be used to assist local officials and public in understanding the many ways that the airport supports the regional economy.

In October 2013, findings from the study led the airport to win a 2013 San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Business award, knows as an "Ebbie." SFO was honored with the Kaiser Permanente Economic Development Award for job creation in the area. The Kaiser Permanente Economic Development Award recognizes companies or organizations that substantially contribute to the economic vitality of San Francisco. Read about the award here.

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