Taking flight with the economy

Air travel has become common today, and in fact many businesses couldn’t survive without the ability to reach customers quickly through air flights. Host Mary Walden asks her husband, NC State economist Dr. Mike Walden, “Does this mean access to air transportation has become a major factor in a community’s economic development?”

Mike Walden, “Increasingly, studies do show that access to air transportation has a big effect on the growth of a local economy. In fact, it has an independent positive impact to the extent everything else equal, that a community has more air connections of both domestic and international. They’re going to grow faster, in fact significantly faster. And this should make sense. We are becoming intertwined domestically much more. A business today is just as likely to sell outside of state boundaries than inside state boundaries. And more and more businesses are getting into international business, international trade and international sales. So, a typical business now has customers perhaps spread all over the country and all over the world. And you need to have interaction with those customers. You need to have interaction with suppliers who may be all over the country and all over the world. So, this means that air connections are very, very important. Now, of course, all cities can’t have the same level of flights.  Obviously as you go up with size of a city you’re going to get more flights. But if you’re a small city, and I was counseling that city on how to address this issues, I would say find a way perhaps to get your folks to the city that’s closest to you that has those air flights.  Maybe have some shuttles that may be publicly funded in order to accomplish that, because this is now a big deal.  Businesses looking at business locations are going to consider the level of your air service.”

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