Halifax Stanfield International Airport (HSIA) is both internationally recognized and the largest airport in Atlantic Canada. In 2018, records were set for both passenger and cargo volume. Passenger growth included a record high air visitors to Nova Scotia.

Canmac Economics Limited provides an economic and fiscal impact analysis/overview of Halifax Stanfield including several economic impacts on the airport’s operations and associated value chain. In sum, these impacts provide a comprehensive assessment of the airport’s contribution to the Nova Scotia economy.

The total (direct and spinoff) economic value of Halifax Stanfield is calculated by four measures: Economic Output, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Basic Price, Employment (defined as Full-Time Equivalent Jobs), and Wages and Salaries. Impacts were estimated using input-output models of the Nova Scotia economy developed from Statistics Canada’s latest input-output data.

Direct activity refers to operations of those firms, industries and government service providers for which aviation or airport activity is a portion of total business activity. These businesses can be divided into two groups: those with primary linkage to airports (aviation-related) and those with a secondary linkage. Aerospace and hotels around Halifax Stanfield are included as part of the direct activity. Also included are the passenger carriers and cargo carriers that provide non-stop and connecting passenger and cargo service across Canada, transborder service into the United States and international links to the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Direct economic activity at Halifax Stanfield creates indirect and induced economic impacts. Indirect economic activity refers to the activity generated in a sector that supplies inputs to businesses associated with direct economic activity. Induced economic activity refers to economic activity generated by individuals employed in the direct or indirect activity sectors who spend a portion of their household income on consumer goods purchased in Nova Scotia.

The sum of the indirect and induced activity is defined as the spinoff impact. In 2018 Halifax Stanfield provided an impressive economic impact. The airport region has a direct output of $2.3 billion with direct employment of 14,756 persons and the creation of $0.7 billion in labour income and provincial output GDP of $1.1 billion.

The total economic impact of the airport consists of the following:

  • total economic output of $3.8 billion
  • total provincial output of $1.9 billion
  • total labour income of $1.1 billion
  • total employment (full time equivalents) of 24,470

Open economies like Nova Scotia are dependent on trade as their key to long-term economic growth. Halifax Stanfield contributes to the sustainability of Nova Scotia’s growth by providing access to the global economy. The world economy is increasingly interdependent and to ensure success in the global economy requires a modern, competitive airport.

Halifax Stanfield provides its economic impact through several channels. First is the airport cluster impact. The airport’s geographic location provides an economic magnet for forward and backward linkages plus an incentive for industry such as the aerospace product manufacture sector to locate near the airport. The cluster provides an economic impact as follows:

  • total provincial output of $999.1 million
  • total labour income of $590.3 million
  • total employment of 10,739

The airport is a component of the value chain that in 2018 provided for international exports of Nova Scotia goods of $343.3 million. This economic activity provided:

  • total provincial gross domestic product of $277.8 million
  • total labour income of $143.8 million
  • total employment of 3,238.

The airport is also a critical component that supports the province’s tourism sector. In 2018, air non-resident travellers spent an estimated $680.3 million. This economic activity resulted in:

  • total provincial gross domestic product of $552.1 million
  • total labour income of $373.0 million
  • total employment of 9,919.

In addition to these ongoing activities, construction and renovation projects by Halifax International Airport Authority and tenants totalled $50.2 million in 2018. These projects contributed $92.9 million to economic output, $42.4 million to GDP and created 574 FTE jobs with wages and salaries of over $29.7 million.

Halifax Stanfield has a positive fiscal impact on the Province of Nova Scotia. The total personal income in 2018 to the Province of Nova Scotia resulting from airport activity, air cargo exporters and visitors entering Nova Scotia at the airport amounts to $198.7 million. In 2018, $62.7 million in retail sales taxes were created due to airport activity.

In 2018, the total value of taxes paid to Halifax Regional Municipality by HIAA and tenants on land covered by the HIAA – Transport Canada Ground Lease was $4.7 million. The distribution of the total 2018 economic output impacts is provided in Chart E1 with airport cluster accounting for 53% of the total.

Table E1 provides a summary of the 2018 economic impact and comparison to 2017. The 2017 comparison is based on revised numbers developed by Canmac for the 2017 Halifax Stanfield economic impact. Since the original study was completed, Statistics Canada provided updated input-output data. The results reported in E1 are based on the updated model.

As shown in Table E1, the economic impact of Halifax Stanfield saw an increase of 5.2% in economic output. This resulted in an increase in the provincial gross domestic product of 2.4%, labour income of 2.3% and employment of 2.4%.

TABLE E1 – SUMMARY OF ECONOMIC IMPACTS

DIRECT SPINOFF TOTAL

TOTAL % OF CHANGE 2017-2018

2018 Economic Impacts
Economic Output ($Millions) 2,285.0 1,467.1 3,752.1 5.2%
GDP Basic Price ($Millions) 1,062.8 807.6 1,870.4 2.4%
Labour Income ($Millions) 684.8 452.1 1,136.9 2.3%
Employment (FTE) 14,756 9,714 24,470 2.4%

In conclusion, Halifax Stanfield provides significant economic impact to the Nova Scotia economy directly and indirectly through its services and linkages to Nova Scotia’s growth sectors.