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Airline’s Study Touts Its Economic Impact

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US Airways Group Inc. spends more than $440 million a year in Pennsylvania, with a ripple effect of nearly $1 billion in total economic activity in the state, according to a study released today.

Philadelphia’s dominant airline paid Econsult Corp. to analyze reams of data and “corroborate” what US Airways’ presence means to the city, region and state.

Among the findings: US Airways’ expenditures generate $947 million in economic activity in Pennsylvania, most of it in Philadelphia. US Airways is the biggest contributor to the $14 billion regional impact of Philadelphia International Airport.

The airline operates about 70 percent of the flights here, and it is the “single biggest contributor” to the the economic well-being of the Philadelphia airport, the study said.

“We’ve done these studies in the past, and most recently in Arizona,” US Airways spokesman Morgan Durrant said. “We know what Philadelphia means to us, but what does it mean to others? This is our second-largest hub. We employ one-sixth of our entire workforce based here, and Philadelphia is our crown jewel in transatlantic flying.”

In competition from nearby New York and Baltimore-Washington airports for international service, Philadelphia handles 10 percent of all international departures in the mid-Atlantic.

Econsult senior vice president Stephen P. Mullin said US Airways operations “indirectly and directly” support more than 30,000 jobs statewide.

These include 6,500 US Airways workers based at Philadelphia International, and 2,700 in Pittsburgh, as well as other employees at airports and companies that provide food and fuel, and the tourism industry.

The study’s other findings include:

US Airways paid about $210 million in direct payroll and wages in the state last year, and its operations generated earnings of $606 million statewide.

US Airways spent $89 million in rentals and landing fees at Philadelphia’s airport in 2007, generated $9.3 million in local taxes to the city, and more than $61 million in state taxes.

US Airways flew more than 12 million passengers to Pennsylvania in 2007, including 9.4 million into Philadelphia. Of the 9.4 million, 1.2 million were international visitors.

Leisure tourists in Philadelphia who flew on US Airways spent $150 million last year. Foreign visitors using US Airways spent more than $150 million last year in the region.

“The value of economic-impact studies is providing a snapshot of how dollars that are spent in a community ripple through that economy,” said Steven T. Wray, executive director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia.

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