Feb. 10, 2021

Overall, aviation contributes $40 billion to Tennessee’s economy and makes up 11% of the state’s gross domestic product, according to the state’s most recent study. Aviation also generated almost 221,000 jobs, $13 billion in payroll and approximately $730 million in state tax revenue, including both visitor spending and fuel taxes.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation recently published an executive summary of its most recent Aviation Economic Impact Study to quantify aviation’s economic impact on the state.

View the executive summary of the Aviation Economic Impact Study.

“Airports serve as a catalyst for people to conduct business, serve clients and communities, and ship cargo,” the study report states. “Having an efficient and diverse system of airports helps support a robust economy.”

The more than 300 general aviation airports and heliports in Tennessee create jobs, contribute to the tax base and improve productivity of nearby businesses.

The study specifically looks at the economic impact of general aviation businesses and general aviation visitors. General aviation business tenants generated $635 million in economic impact in 2019. Data from surveys of general aviation visitors, combined with similar data from other states, was used to estimate visitor spending contributions equaling a total of approximately $8.6 billion in contributions.

The study highlighted several key contributors to the state’s economy, including the Middle Tennessee State University Aerospace Department’s flight training program, located at Murfreesboro Municipal Airport (MBT), which operates more than 30 aircraft with over 1,000 students enrolled.

“Tennessee is home to many aviation-related businesses, including flight schools, maintenance repair organizations, charter operators and FBOs,” said Greg Voos, NBAA’s Southeastern regional representative. “These organizations, along with Part 91 flight departments, combine to have a significant impact on the state’s economic picture but the impact goes far beyond this. Aviation helps other industries increase productivity and connects businesses in smaller communities with the rest of the country.”