Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2016 - Page 57

Photo: by Finavia / Photographer Hannu Vallas / Lentokuava Vallas Oy Earn Your Wings In trying times, can Airport Cities help the economy to take off? I n building the Growth Corridors of the future, one sometimes neglects to note the importance of air traffic. While multimodality as a concept – and more significantly, in practice – is being perfected, airports are emerging as powerful hubs that drive growth around the world. Airport cities guru, Dr. John Kasarda, has talked about “the rise of the aerotropolis” and the increasing economic importance of airports for years. According to Kasarda, airport cities have developed along different paths. A portion of airport cities were planned from the start, but most of them, however, evolved in a largely organic manner responding to airport land availability, improved surface transportation access and growing air traveller consumer demands. Additional drivers in this change have been airport revenue needs, new business practices, and site-specific commercial real estate opportunities. Winning Wingspan ”Regardless of the process, airports continue to transform from primarily air transport infrastructure to multimodal, multi-functional enterprises generating considerable commercial development within and well beyond their boundaries,” Kasarda believes. More and more, we are witnessing the trend where virtually all of the commercial func- Get Connected tions of a modern metropolitan centre can be found on (or near) most major air gateways, fundamentally changing them from ‘city airports’ to ‘airport cities’. The economic impact of airports is a crucial component of modern economies. According to an Airports Council International EUROPE (ACI) study, European airports and associated aviation activity create and facilitate a total of almost 12.5 million jobs, or €675 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year – that’s just over 4 % of the entire European economy. Rare Air The ACI study notes that while a large part of airports’ economic impact is associated with those that work within the sector and its wider supply chains, it is the broader “catalytic impacts” which set aviation apart from other industries. These are the wider economic activities which occur beyond the aviation sector, but which are facilitated and supported by the connectivity that aviation delivers between localities, countries and world regions. This means that tourists can spend money in previously unreachable locations; businesses can produce goods to be consumed in far corners of the world; investors can set up new offices, call centres and factories exactly where they are needed. The ACI study looked at macro-economic data from 40 Euro