RDU’s $15.1 Billion Impact Powers Regional Economy











Report Shows Airport is Poised to Lead Triangle’s Economic Recovery: Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) contributed more than $15.1 billion to the economy and supported nearly 100,000 local and regional jobs in 2019, according to an analysis from N.C. State University’s Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE). RDU also generated more than $3.5 billion in personal income and $518 million in taxes for state and local governments.

“RDU is one of the largest economic engines in North Carolina and its impact continues to grow, with the airport contributing significantly to the economy and regional workforce,” said Michael Landguth, president & CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “As we work toward recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, restoring passenger traffic and air service are vital to economic recovery for the Research Triangle and beyond.”

Airports support the economy directly through jobs at airlines, rental car companies, cleaning services, food, hospitality and retail businesses and airport security providers. Expenditures from airports support construction and engineering firms, facility maintenance and operations services, and building and grounds upkeep. There is an additional economic impact from business and leisure travelers, including spending on lodging, food, beverage and dining, entertainment, shopping, gifts and souvenirs. Airports also support businesses by helping them sell to new markets and grow and expand their operations.

The total number of jobs supported by RDU is equivalent to the combined number of jobs at:

  • Duke University and Duke Health Systems (41,206)
  • Wake County Public School System (17,000)
  • UNC-Chapel Hill (12,204)
  • North Carolina State University (9,019)
  • IBM (8,000)
  • SAS (5,567)
  • Pfizer (3,610)
  • Glaxosmithkline (2,600)

The biennial “The State of Aviation” report is created by ITRE and sponsored by the N.C. Division of Aviation. It analyzed 2019 data and does not reflect the impact of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic on air travel.