Long Beach Airport Commits To Build New General Aviation Facility

Long Beach Airport supports 43,000 jobs, creates $11B economic impact, new study says

LONG BEACH – The Long Beach Airport and surrounding businesses provide 43,000 jobs and have pumped more than $11 billion into the region, according to an economic impact report released Wednesday. 

The Airport Area Complex – which includes Boeing Co.’s C-17 plant – also provides an indirect boon to the local economy through hotel stays and other benefits, according Cal State Long Beach economics professor Joseph P. Magaddino, who co-authored the report with colleague Lisa M. Grobar. 

“It’s a pretty impressive number,” he said. “The airport is a pretty strong engine for economic growth not only for the city but the region as a whole.”

The airport alone provides 18,000 jobs, which accounts for 9 percent of all jobs in Long Beach, according to the report. 

“The Long Beach Airport is a powerful economic engine that supports thousands of well-paying jobs,” Mayor Bob Foster said in a written statement. “The airport is not only important to Long Beach, but vital to the entire region’s economic growth.” 

The authors studied the airport region that is bordered by the San Diego (405) Freeway, Carson Street and Clark and Cherry avenues. 

Businesses within the area generate annual payroll of $1.4billion and total regional earnings of more than $2.6 billion. The average annual wage for the airport area is about $78,165, much of it because of the high-paying manufacturing jobs at Boeing, the report stated. 

The city-commissioned report, the second airport area study to be issued by the college since 2003, is seen as a bright spot in the midst of an economic downturn and as the city struggles with multimillion dollar budget deficits and a declining but still high unemployment rate of 12.2 percent. 

“It makes things much better in what has been a very, very bad economic time,” said Long Beach Airport Director Mario Rodriguez. 

The report, based on 2011 data, focused mainly on the Long Beach Airport and its regional economic impact. About 60 percent of all tickets bought at the airport come from people or firms in Los Angeles County, while 35 percent come from Orange County and 5 percent elsewhere. 

Also, Magaddino and Grobar estimated that 59,000 overnight visitors used the airport in 2011, spent $26.6 million on hotel costs and $24.4 million on
restaurants, retail and entertainment. Meanwhile, flight crews shelled out $1.2 million on hotels and another $1.2 million in other costs. 

Combined, they spent $53.4million in the city, according to the report. 

In 2011, the airport generated $32.6 million in fees and revenues related to parking, fix-base operators, car rentals and landing fees. 

Magaddino said the most surprising part of the airport has been the airport’s ongoing passenger growth, despite the economic downturn. The
airport, which serves about 3 million passengers annually, saw its share of the region’s passenger traffic jump from 4.0 to 4.7percent from 2006 to

The Long Beach Airport could grow to 3.8 million passengers annually by 2030, according to the Southern California Association of Governments, which is the region’s major transportation planning agency. 

Growth, however, is limited by a noise ordinance that caps the airport at 41 commercial and 25 commuter daily flights. 

“The airport, even during the most difficult economic times where airlines typically saw a big drop in ridership, this airport keeps plugging along,”
Magaddino said. 

He credited that to the airport’s central location, good management, ease of entering and exiting the facility, and its low rates. 

“All those things work towards its advantage,” he said. 

Construction has also been an economic boost to the city, with the airport undergoing more than $120 million in major construction upgrades, including upgrading ramps, renovating its historic terminal and building a new passenger concourse and parking structure. This construction has and will produce more than 300 jobs annually through 2014. 

“If you look at what we are trying to do, we are trying to provide an unrivaled gateway to the city of Long Beach,” Rodriguez said. “We’re making
the airport like a red carpet to the city. 

“Everything that we’re doing we’re doing with great care, everything from the look of the airport to make it a resort-type feel to the finances of the
airport by getting costs low.” 

Without the airport, many businesses in the city of Long Beach that wouldn’t be here, Rodriguez said. 

“We want to make sure that we provide the right services to the business community to make sure that the economy here stays as vibrant as possible,” he said.