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Philadelphia International Airport Continues To Be Economic Engine, Study Shows

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new study shows Philadelphia International Airport has a $15-billion impact on the regional economy. But it also shows why a new runway is no longer a priority.

The study is the first look at the airport’s economic impact in more than a decade — and reassures that through a recession, airline consolidations and other changes, the airport continues to be an economic driver– supporting 96,000 jobs, including 54,000 “direct” jobs at the airport. But CEO Chellie Cameron says it also shows that while the number of passengers going through the airport has remained steady at 30-million yearly, the number of take-offs and landings has dropped 20 percent.

“The airlines have changed their business model,” Cameron said. “They’re using bigger planes and they’re actually putting more people in the planes. When’s the last time you had a middle seat open when you flew? So the planes are fuller, they’re using bigger planes so they don’t need the same number of take-offs and landings to carry the same number of passengers.”

Cameron says that means priorities will change in the master plan, with the emphasis now on terminal upgrades. She says the airport is still working with the airlines to figure out what will be most useful.

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