A study by the state Department of Transportation found Georgia’s airports generated more than $62 billion for Georgia’s economy and 471 thousand jobs.
But the lion’s share came from Hartsfield-Jackson airport, while smaller airports struggled.
Georgia has 104 public-use airports. In 2009 and 2010 they generated $62.6 billion for the state’s economy. $58.2 billion came from Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta, the world’s busiest passenger airport.
But Carol Comer, with the state Department of Transportation, says the past four years have been tough on other airports in the state.
“We are seeing certainly a decrease in the number of operations at our airports, and certainly in the amount of fuel that is sold for corporate aviation.”
Patrick Graham, executive director of the Savannah-Hilton Head airport, says growth has remained flat there.
“I look to maybe a two or three year period before things really start to maybe get to positive growth.”
“We’re actually a little slightly down on passenger traffic this year and revenues are like point two percent up.”
He says most of his peers are trying to maintain stability.
Comer says Georgia gets a lot of return on its investment in the airports. Due to the economy, the state doesn’t provide as much funding as neighboring states do.
Georgia contributes about two and a half million dollars to its airports each year. Meanwhile, Florida provides about $150 million to its airports each year.
Check out a video by the Georgia Department of Transportation touting the importance of the state's airports. 'Georgia's Airports Mean Business'.