Led by Boeing, Charleston International Airport and the local aviation industry create a juggernaut of jobs and money for the metro area economy, according to a study released Thursday by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce.
The airport, Air Force Base and Boeing complex together pump nearly $7 billion into the three-county metro area and support more than 34,000 jobs locally, the chamber’s Center for Business Research reported in the study.
The airport and its tenants account for 1,200 direct jobs and added to the economic impact of air travelers, bring in more than $710 million.
The Air Force Base, which owns the runways and allows the airport to use them under a joint use agreement, employs 6,400 active-duty and civilian workers directly which translates into 10,700 jobs in the region through spin-offs and more than $1.4 billion to the economy. The numbers do not include other military facilities in the metro area.
But it is Boeing and its 5,000 workers at its aircraft assembly campus adjacent to the airport that has the biggest impact. Boeing’s presence in the Lowcountry sustains 17,000 jobs through its spin-off effect and brings more than $4.6 billion in economic activity to metro Charleston, according to the study.
Air travelers visiting Charleston, not counting flight costs, spend $309 million directly each year on hotels, restaurants, retailers and services and provide jobs to more than 4,200 locally. Their spending spin-off pumps another $60 million into the local economy, the report said.
The total $6.7 billion impact from the aviation complex accounts for 24 percent of Charleston’s gross metropolitan product of $28 billion, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis in 2010.
Of the more than 283,000 jobs in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, the aviation industry sustains 12 percent of them and accounts for $2 billion in pay for local workers, the study said.
Read more in tomorrow’s editions of The Post and Courier.