Report: Scottsdale Airport is an economic powerhouse

A view of Scottsdale Airport at 15000 N Airport Drive.
A view of Scottsdale Airport at 15000 N Airport Drive.
Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey

Scottsdale Airport, the busiest single-runway general aviation airport, continues to be a significant asset for the city of Scottsdale, according to a recently published report.

Dr. Lee McPheters, research professor at Seidman Research Institute at the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU, provided the City of Scottsdale with an economic analysis recently.

The airport experienced a 20.7% increase in total benefits since 2014. Total benefits consist of direct benefits like output, employment, and income related to aviation activity plus secondary benefits from spending recycled into the regional economy, the report states.

Aviation activity at the airport and airpark created $688 million in total economic output --- which is the value of all goods and services --- for 2019, according to the report. Aviation activity also added $37 million to local and state tax revenues --- an economic benefit of $1.9 million daily, according to the report.

The analysis calculated the 2019 catalytic (spin-off) benefit of the airport to be $10 billion for the entire non-aviation portion of the Airpark, an increase of 22-percent over the 2014 figure of $8.2 billion, which represents a 14.5 percent increase in 2019 dollars, city officials contend.

Scottsdale Airport has a strong influence on the Airpark, the second-largest employment center in Arizona. Together, aviation activity in the airport/airpark supported 3,979 total jobs in the region with incomes to workers and proprietors of $241 million, the report states.

“These figures speak volumes on the importance of general aviation to our local, regional and state economies,” said Gary P. Mascaro, aviation director at Scottsdale Airport, in a prepared statement. “The airport is an economic powerhouse and an asset for the city.”

The prominent economic benefits derived from Scottsdale Airport are employment, corporate jet customers and air visitors, according to city officials.


There are 1,706 aviation-related jobs at Scottsdale Airport with the inclusion of the Airpark.

“This is more than any other general aviation airport in the state,” Dr. McPheters said in his report. “Falcon Field has 1,486 jobs at the airport and in the most recent report, Deer Valley has 965 jobs on-site. Flagstaff Airport provides 498 jobs.”

Corporate jets

Scottsdale Airport has 478 based aircraft and 176 of these (37%) are corporate jets; a higher percentage than at any other airport in the Phoenix area.

“The Phoenix metro area has several excellent general aviation airports, but what sets Scottsdale apart as a driver for the economy is the number of corporate jets based there, more than the combined total at all other Valley airports,” Dr. McPheters said.

Air visitors

Air visitors create high-powered economic benefits for the area --- especially during events like the Barrett Jackson Classic Car Auction and Waste Management Phoenix Open. The study showed that air visitors arriving into Scottsdale Airport spent $54 million in the region --- a 36% increase from 2014.

“Another unique indicator for Scottsdale Airport is the proportion of air traffic due to visiting aircraft arriving from outside the area,” Dr. McPheters said. “At Scottsdale Airport that figure is about 60 percent, compared to 20 to 30 percent at less active general aviation airports.”