Future-ready airports: Airports are back in the spotlight as catalysts for future growth

Airport infrastructure investment can boost regional economic growth

Airports are too often seen as merely supporting assets to the revenue generators of air travel. However, airports have the potential to catalyze massive economic benefits outside of the perimeter fence.

When designed, executed and operated well, airports will generate more jobs, facilitate increased business interactions, encourage co-located commercial development, support increased trade in goods, and will likely open up regions to more cross-sector investment.

This is being recognized in airport developments around the world, with European and Asian airports dominating various surveys and rankings of airport quality and projected economic growth.

US airports are also increasingly recognizing this, with concepts such as "airport cities" in various stages of planning, such as in the cases of Memphis and Denver international airports.

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According to the FAA, the aviation sector in the US currently generates nearly $1.6 trillion per annum for the economy through its entire value chain, and aviation traffic is expected to grow 2.6% year-on-year out to 2036.



Four steps to help make an airport future-ready

PwC recommends the following steps to help airports focus on programs that drive competitiveness and yield regional and systemic benefits:

  • Conduct a strategic planning exercise
  • Win stakeholder support and mobilize organizational resources
  • Consider a range of financing options to optimally allocate risk and returns
  • Implement a program of well-managed capital projects

How future-ready are US airports?

PwC evaluated 30 of the largest airports in the US, accounting for 72% of all passenger boardings, to understand to find out how well they address the five focus areas that help increase competitive advantage for their regions.


Contact us

Daryl Walcroft
Principal, US Capital Projects & Infrastructure Leader
Tel: +1 (415) 498 6512

Riz Shah
Principal, US Capital Projects & Infrastructure Public Sector Leader
Tel: +1 (202) 730 4242

Ken Lund
Public Sector Economic Development, State and Local Government
Tel: +1 (720) 931 7357

Kristin Centanni
Public Sector Operations and Change Management, State and Local Government
Tel: +1 (720) 931 7313

Shaun Fernando
Infrastructure Strategy and Economics, Cities of the Future