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Study Shows Metro Airport Pumps Billions Into Michigan’s Economy

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Second from right is Thomas Naughton, CEO, Wayne County Airport Authority as he discusses the study results following a news conference at the Detroit Metro Airport Westin Hotel.  (credit: Pat Sweeting/WWJ)

Second from right is Thomas Naughton, CEO, Wayne County Airport Authority as he discusses the study results following a news conference at the Detroit Metro Airport Westin Hotel. (credit: Pat Sweeting/WWJ)

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ROMULUS (WWJ) – A new study finds that Detroit Metropolitan Airport contributes billions of dollars to Michigan’s economy.

Tim Davis, Director of iLabs at the University of Michigan-Dearborn Center for Innovation Research, said students surveyed 1,600 Metro Airport passengers last summer, asking whether they were just passing through, staying in Detroit or starting here and traveling elsewhere.

“The survey was designed to capture a lot of numeric data for the economic impact studies,” Davis said. “We learned how much they spent per night on hotel and lodging, on food, on entertainment, on assorted other ancillary things — as well as travel.”

(credit: Pat Sweeting/WWJ)

(credit: Pat Sweeting/WWJ)

The  economic impact study found that Metro Airport generates more than 86,000 jobs and about $10.2 billion across Michigan. It also showed that visitors to Metro Detroit annually spent $1.7 billion after flying into Metro; that’s as 32.2 million passengers and 449 million pounds of cargo traveled through the airport last year.

Lee Redding, Associate Professor of Business Economics at U-M Dearborn, said he sees the study as a way to quantify the importance of being connected to the global economy.

“Both in terms of bringing people here — and having them visit and support those industries that support visitors — but also, what we’re trying to get out to the people who are traveling to promote sales of Michigan goods and services, the importance of being connected to the global economy in that way.”

Thomas Naughton, CEO of the Wayne County Airport Authority, which commissioned the survey, says the real benefit derived from the airport is not from the facility itself — the terminals and the airfield — but from the fact that Metro serves about 150 destinations.

“I think that’s what drives the real benefit,” Naughton said. “That’s the honey that can be attractive when businesses are thinking about relocating to this region.”

According to the study, 295,000 business travelers who came in from other regions said their trip would result in placing an order for Michigan goods and services.

View the full report HERE.

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