TDOT Releases the 2019 Aviation Economic Impact Study



Aviation in Tennessee contributes $40 billion to the state’s economy
Wednesday, February 03, 2021 | 08:49am

Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Department of Transportation has completed a year-long Statewide Aviation Economic Impact Study, finding Tennessee’s public-use airports contribute $40 billion to the state’s economy and support 220,936 jobs in Tennessee.

“Tennessee’s 78 public-use airports are critical components of the state’s transportation network, linking and providing access to regional, national, and global transportation systems,” said TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright.

This Economic Impact Study represents the 2019 annual economic impact of the aviation system on the state’s economy.  Therefore, the study is a good representation of the annual economic impact of the aviation system during a non-pandemic world.

The study analyzed the economic impacts of on-airport activities, off-airport activities, multiplier impacts, and freight/cargo.  Examples of on-airport activities include economic impacts from business tenants, airport construction spending, and airport employment.  Off-airport impacts include visitor spending.  Visitor spending generated 69,965 jobs and $9 billion in business revenue to the state in 2019.  Analysis found that freight/cargo impacts generated 82,357 jobs, and $19 billion in business revenue.

Smyrna Airport Executive Director John Black

“A safe, secure, efficient, and resilient aviation system is essential to our state’s physical, economic, and social health,” said Michelle Frazier, Director of TDOT’s Aeronautics Division.  “This report recognizes aviation as a driver of the economy, including economic recovery.”

“Smyrna Airport is one of the largest economic engines in the State, an asset to our local Community and Tennessee’s $40 billion aviation industry. Smyrna airport has an annual economic impact of $232 Million and we have several projects in the pipeline in 2021 that will bring more long term, highly skilled jobs to this region.”  said Smyrna Airport Executive Director John Black

The Aviation Economic Impact Study details the $40 billion economic impact of aviation in Tennessee.  Airports serve as a catalyst for people to conduct business, serve clients, and ship cargo.  Having a well maintained and diverse aviation system supports a robust economy.

Memphis Belle is the official Tennessee State Airplane…Memphis Belle was a “Flying Fortress,” a B-17 bomber that became famous for surviving 25 combat missions in World War II. It was named for pilot Robert Morgan’s 19-year-old fiancée, Margaret Polk, a college student in Memphis, and a direct descendant of President James K. Polk.

View the Executive Summary, including the breakdown of each individual airport’s contributions, at