How Many Jobs Will Pickering Airport Create?

Ramp operations December 2019 at Pearson airport. Just one of the many full time job categories at the new Pickering Airport. (Photo by Mark Brooks)

By Mark Brooks and Ted Nickerson 

It can safely be anticipated that the new Pickering Airport planned for Durham Region will have an economic impact far beyond its cost. The return for the $2.8 billion construction cost for phase 1 (including $600 million in public service and infrastructure investment) far outstrips the cost.

Using comparable case studies of other airports, the new airport at maturity should create 16,000 direct Jobs and 30,000 – 60,000 indirect jobs. It will create at least $13 billion in annual economic activity and $500 million in income taxes. Built to handle 16 million passengers by 2040, the airport could be expanded to handle double the passengers in the future when needed.

Pickering Airport will be one of the largest job creation engines in Durham Region when it opens, on a par with the GM plant in its heyday. But how do we put numbers to this new economic engine once it is operational?

Jobs created by an airport come in two distinct groups. The first are those created by the airport directly, located “inside the fence” from direct operation of the airport, airlines, and supporting business such as fuel services and snow clearing.  The second wave of jobs are indirectly created “outside the fence” by the “Catalytic Effect” as travellers move through the host economy. This indirect job creation will be enhanced by an innovation corridor south of the airport.

There is a proven relationship between airline connections and a city’s ability to attract domestic and foreign direct investment. High-technology production and knowledge-intensive services are attracted by strong airline connections.

Jobs created by trade and investment are enabled by a robust transportation infrastructure. From new start-ups to global conglomerates, companies will migrate to the region to take advantage of the new locally-accessible aviation infrastructure, allowing Durham Region to connect directly to the world.

Statistical analysis shows that 1000 direct jobs are created for every million paying passengers an airport handles. Numbers are from stats Canada.  Note: GTAA reported 1 million more passengers than Stats Canadas in 2018 for Pearson airport.

A valid method to estimate job creation uses industry standard metrics. Described by Richard Klophaus in a study linking employment to airport passenger volumes, this process analyses the employment created by dozens of airports. It predicts the creation of 1,000 direct jobs for every 1 million passengers and a 2 to 3 times multiplier for indirect jobs, i.e. an additional 1000 to 2000 indirect jobs for every 1 Million passengers.

This is validated when looking at nearby Pearson Airport and its 2016 economic impact study. Pearson moved 44.3 million passengers in 2016, creating 50,000 direct jobs (representing1129 jobs for every 1 million passengers served). Pearson is at the heart of Canada’s second largest employment zone with a total of 332,000 direct and indirect jobs attributed to the airport, generating $42 billion in economic output, accounting for 6.3% of Ontario’s GDP.  Since Pickering Airport expects to eventually handle 33% of Pearson’s passenger volume, one could reduce these numbers to one third, resulting in 16,600 direct jobs, 110,000 total jobs and $14 billion in economic output.

Another authoritative source of validation for these numbers comes from “The Economic Impact of the Air Transportation Industry”, a report from the Canadian Airports Council. This points to Pearson’s numbers actually being higher than the industry standard, but to be conservative, let’s stay with the average. Using this metric, Pickering Airport is predicted to create 16,000 direct and 32,000 indirect jobs for a total of 48,000 by 2040.

Durham Region is projected to develop further on an east-west axis along the 407 Highway, thus providing easy access to the new airport. Easy rail access on the airport site will enable both new VIA and Go Train service. The new investments and jobs created by Pickering Airport will attract new residents, building on the region’s tradition as a cosmopolitan, diverse and open-minded community.

Some of the public infrastructure investments, essential to support the new airport, are already under way. These include a new intersection on Highway 407, and agreements for Seaton developers to upsize utilities and services being built in the Seaton subdivision to support the full economic development of the Federal airport lands.

The jobs and economic activity created by Pickering Airport are poised to transform the region!



Statistics Canada Passenger Movements ( paying passengers, may not agree with more local airport statistics)

Passenger volumes and jobs

Assessing Air Travels social economic footprint 

Canadian Airports Council 

9 thoughts on “How Many Jobs Will Pickering Airport Create?

  1. Answer. Zero. And:
    1. Who is Ted Nickerson
    2 Your comments do not post. “An organization that does not engage with its opposition, produces only propaganda”. it is closed loop on BS.
    3. Costs.. 2.8 B$ NO. NO and NO. Sydney Aus. Greenfield airport, 1 runway, over 6 B$ and counting. .. Berlin over 7 B Euro and counting. Mexico. city 20 B$ and abandoned. Toronto. 2 runways and terminal added… 7 B$ debt. Ryan says he doesn’t pay for it….Who does??? Ask the Joker.
    4. No airport makes money if it has no customers. Pickering will go the same way as Mirabel costs are too high ….read see page 15/16. and page 23 para 3.2.
    Who remediates the land after it is strip mined?? What does the current account book say about Mirabel.. Pickering??
    5. Job. spins-off… get real… Durham’s white paper claimed 5000 on 2.6 B$. annual spin -off benefit. Toronto island airport spins 2.6B$ today on 2500 jobs. see their annual report. London city runs 2X the passengers of Toronto island, uses the c series (quiet, home built), on a 5000′ runway. see:–London%20appproval.pdf
    Oshawa’s 4000′ airport has /had a 5000′ runway plan on the existing property.. Walk before you run is good advise for children.
    see also you might find it interesting it is a work in progress..
    You have been had. ;-)).

    1. Any comment with a link in it is screened. It keeps the viagra commercials down to a dull roar. As I am working hard today ( look out that window, blue sky!) and The other two volunteer admins Phil an Erica are off doing other things, it might be a bit until we get to it.


  2. Hi Ivan, as you can imagine working all day ( blue skies today!).

    your other comment is flagged with a broken link as spam. No broke links , no YouTube downloads, play by the rules, ok?

    As to Brandenburg, you just made our case. It was an airport build by the German government to replace 2 others but with soaring air travel demands all three are set to remain open.

    That government run fiasco is a poster child of why we need free enterprise running the show. Pickering must be a P3, no politicians clouding design and construction by advocating for fire systems in the floor vs the ceiling etc.

  3. Working all day.. blue skies.. nice. Post pictures, you do that well. Broken link?? that is what happens went the video is updated.
    Youtube search “Toronto International Airport’s (GTAA)real Capacity v3”
    Re last para.. Free enterprise??? not …. but great laugh on following comment too true

  4. “Ted Nickerson, Durham Gateway Partners Inc., appeared before Council in support of Report CAO 03-17.” Mr. Nickerson noted that the report contains common objectives (Amazon, airport, enhanced rail transport), and that they are a catalyst for immense Regional prosperity…..”Gateway Partners, Inc. (“GPI”) is a specialized mergers and acquisitions firm serving the middle market. We are leaders in executing strategic acquisition searches for well-capitalized public and private acquirers. GPI has an impressive track record of partnering with private equity groups and management teams to build industry leading companies through acquisition.” .. Seems he is not a partner.
    Ha ha. betting he doesn’t know the blue side from the brown side, what an airplane or an airport is any more than a 6 yr old, thinks an airport owns airspace and air traffic control controls airplanes…Probably loves Richard Florida, and never read the 8400.10, TERPS, or the Aeronautics Act

    1. Ted Nickerson is an engineer, a friend of “Friends of Pickering Airport”, and a supporter of the economic development of the Pickering lands. He is a well known and vocal supporter of Durham region and the new airport.




Comments are closed.