Airports Are Economic Engines

This is an interesting article on why airports should be seen as an “econmic engine” for the community, versus an issue.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006
Airports need steady hand, says professor
By Peter Morley
Australia – The Brisbane Courier Mail

BRISBANE airport has the potential to become a superior “aerotropolis” with a workforce and economy matching that of a typical Australian regional city, says one of the world’s airport experts. But he has also warned the development needs to be carefully handled to ensure the best economic efficiencies, aesthetics, environmental outcomes and sustained urban economic development. Professor John Kasarda, in Brisbane to help the Queensland University of Technology produce concepts that could be adopted by the Brisbane Airport Corporation, warned haphazard development around the airport could produce the worst fears of those who oppose expanding the airport’s precinct.

Professor Kasarda said opposition to airport cities was common because people did not understand the concept.

“They think of them as nothing more than transportation infrastructure where planes land, passengers and cargo transit,” Professor Kasarda said.

“But today they have to be much more.

“They have to be multifunctional, doing all types of non-aeronautical activities.

“This boosts the local economy but more importantly cross-subsidises the aeronautical infrastructure development that is very expensive.”

Professor Kasarda, a US-based world expert on airport-centric development, will tomorrow address business people on the benefits to southeast Queensland if the corporation proceeds with its intention of making Brisbane an airport city.

More than 10,000 people now work at Brisbane Airport and the figure is expected to increase to more than 40,000 – the size of a large regional city – over the next two decades.

The concept of the aerotropolis began at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport which Professor Kasarda described as the “grandfather” airport city with 58,000 workers, shopping malls that combined with terminals and even its own convention centre.

“Schiphol is just one example of how major airports are beginning to drive business location and urban development in the 21st century,” Professor Kasarda said.

“Brisbane is already an important airport and the fastest growing in Australia.

Editor’s Note: Your airport may not be as large as the examples here, but the same economic principles still apply. Think about it.

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