Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Brussels Airport creates over 64,000 jobs and contributes €5.4 billion to the Belgian economy

Brussels Airport creates over 64,000 jobs and contributes €5.4 billion to the Belgian economy

Economic activities at and around Brussels Airport contribute a net €5.4 billion to Belgium’s gross domestic product. This is the conclusion of a study on the financial impact of the airport conducted by researchers from UAntwerp and UCLouvain universities.

The study also shows at least 26,000 direct airport jobs in 2019, and the airport business district provides another 3,500 jobs. Indirectly, the airport creates 34,500 jobs. Thus, 64,000 people earn their living at and around the national airport.

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In the past, the National Bank produced an annual study on the economic impact of airports in Belgium. The last time this took place was in 2017, based on 2015 figures. At the request of Brussels Airport, scientists from the University of Antwerp and UCLouvain have now carried out a new study. They mapped out Brussels Airport’s impact on employment and added value for 2019. When the study was set up, 2019 was chosen as the last representative year before COVID-19 distorted the figures.

In the first part, Wouter Dewulf, Bart Jourquin, Sven Buyle and Jolien Pauwels looked exclusively at the activities directly related to Brussels Airport. “These include airline and air traffic control operations, on-site hotels and shops, cargo operations, etc.,” explains Prof. Wouter Dewulf (UAntwerp).

“Together, these activities account for an added value – the net created value contribution of economic activity to society €2.3 billion. Spread across 357 different companies, 25,796 people work in airport-related jobs. Seven thousand sixty-two direct employees (27%) are related to cargo activities, accounting for 23% of direct added value (€539 million). The logistics department, therefore, has great importance and added value. In addition, there are a further 3,662 employees based at the airport site who work in non-directly related sectors (e.g. at consultancy firms based at the site).” In comparison, in 2015, the National Bank calculated a value-added of €1.7 billion and 17,767 directly employed full-time equivalents.

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Businesses providing services to the airport create an indirect impact. “Consider, for example, businesses that supply restaurants at Brussels Airport, firms that renovate runways, or taxi companies in the airport’s vicinity,” says Prof. Together; they account for €1.6 billion in added value. Nineteen thousand one hundred fifty-two employees earn their living from it.”

Thirdly, the airport’s induced effects are calculated based on the Federal Planning Bureau’s input-output model. These effects include wage expenditures in the national economy by employees working at directly and indirectly related businesses. The induced level generates €1.5 billion in added value and 15,615 employees.

Adding the three effects together yields the total economic impact of Brussels Airport. It accounts for €5.4 billion in added value and 64,225 employees.

“The study of Universiteit Antwerpen and UCLouvain confirms that Brussels Airport remains the country’s second most important economic engine with 29,500 jobs on the airport site and 64,000 jobs in the country thanks to the airport activities.”, says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport.

“This study shows the importance of the airport for employment and as an economic growth engine: the economic added value generated by the airport each year has increased from 3,2 billion to no less than 5,4 billion euros in 2019. We are proud of the many airport employees working daily to service millions of passengers, thousands of companies, and the country’s three regions.”

The airport is a powerful catalyst for the economy.
Finally, the researchers also estimated the catalytic effects. These include the extensive economic benefits that result from an airport’s ability to stimulate different sectors of the economy, such as trade, investment, productivity and tourism. Indeed, the presence of the airport and its activities attract additional investment and activity that create added value and jobs.

Brussels Airport thereby created an added value of €8.83 billion, and the airport accounted for 1.85% of Belgium’s GDP in 2019. Converted to the number of employees, this amounts to 81,637 employees.

“This research shows that Brussels Airport and its ecosystem generate high added value and employment,” concludes Jolien Pauwels (UAntwerp). “The aviation sector is labour-intensive and generates a relatively high employment rate. Moreover, the airport and the airlines are capital-intensive, leading to high added value.”

Picture of Anastasiya Simsek

Anastasiya Simsek

Anastasiya Simsek started her journalism career in 2016 at Ukrainian TV-Channels: 24 Channel and 1+1 Media. Having worked across a number of different sectors, including news, medicine and lifestyle, she joined the Air Cargo Week editorial team in 2024. To share your news and exclusive insights, contact Anastasiya.Simsek@AirCargoWeek.com

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