Washington’s 135 public airports are continuing to help local economies take flight, generating thousands of jobs and millions of dollars for cities and counties throughout the state. The findings are just a few of the highlights from the 2012 Aviation Economic Impact Study, which was conducted by the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division.

“The study helps us take a much closer, detailed look at our system in terms of its economic benefits and provides unique insight from the perspective of the airports, the industry and those who use our services,” said Tristan Atkins, WSDOT aviation director. “Ultimately, it’s a tool that helps us improve the way we do business.”

Highlights of the 2012 study include:

• Statewide commercial and general aviation activity generate about 248,500 jobs, $15.3 billion in wages, and $50.9 billion in economic activity.

• A significant share of aviation system contributions are from the mobility and connectivity of people, goods and services across all modes of transportation.

•  Smaller airport facilities are critical in providing access to life-saving medical air transport and other services such as disaster management and wildfire support.

•  Tax revenue generated from aviation activities provide the state general fund more than $540 million annually. Cities, special purpose districts, and counties receive about $243 million in annual revenue.

“Our last study was completed in 2001, so this also helps us provide some much-needed updates to economic data such as the jobs, wages and types of businesses at each airport,” Atkins said. “The 2012 study results speak for themselves – and the message is overwhelmingly positive.”

In 2001, airports generated 171,300 jobs, more than $4 billion in wages and $18.5 billion in annual sales output. And while data sources differed slightly for the 2012 study, these categories showed dramatic increases of 77,200 jobs, $11.3 billion in wages, and $32.4 billion in sales in the past decade.