Press Release
Jan 4, 2023

[St. Petersburg, Florida]  The economic impact of the Albert Whitted Airport (SPG) is $128 million, up 60% from $79.7 million in 2019, according to a new study by the Florida Department of Transportation.

The FDOT’s Statewide Aviation Economic Impact Study was recently released; a previous study was done in 2019. 

“This economic report is just more proof as to how much economic value SPG brings to St. Petersburg”, says Friends of Albert Whitted Airport member Walt Driggers, “There is so much value here, economic, historic, educational, tourism. When you realize that Albert Whitted Airport area is the home of the very first commercial flight in America, back in 1914, you realize that there’s a lot of history here which created the vibrant downtown waterfront of St. Pete.”

Albert Whitted Airport generates 948 jobs. Statewide, Florida’s aviation system generated 2,009,088 jobs and contributed $336 billion in 2021 to the state’s economy, accounting for 13.5% of Florida’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Flight instructor Misa Franklin knows that Albert Whitted is a place where many pilots of tomorrow start out. “I’ve been here since 1997,” said Misa. “I have helped 110 people get their final licenses and have taught over 1000 students. I have from high school age to 76-year-old students!”

The FDOT also attributes a $42.9 million in payroll to SPG, which reflects the total compensation for work, including gross wages, salaries, employer-provided benefits, and taxes paid to the government on behalf of employees.

The report can be found at:

Other highlights include a $68.6 Million economic added value to St. Petersburg.

Albert Whitted Airport (SPG) is a general aviation (GA) airport in downtown St. Petersburg. The airport is publicly owned and operated by the City of St. Petersburg. The airport offers two intersecting paved runways, the longest of which measures 3,676 feet long by 75 feet wide (Runway 07/25). 

The airport boasts a vibrant GA community conducting a variety of activities including recreational flying, business/corporate aviation, aerial sightseeing, and flight training. An on-airport flight school attracts students from across the globe. Sheltair Aviation provides comprehensive fixed-base operator (FBO) services and amenities, and several manufacturing and repair providers are available onsite. For visitors, SPG offers access to the exciting and unique cultural, gastronomic, and recreational attractions and events of St. Petersburg and the surrounding Tampa Bay area.

Additionally, Albert Whitted Airport plays an important role in the safety and security of the community and region. The U.S. Coast Guard occasionally uses SPG to perform search and rescue exercises and operations. The airport is home to Med Trans, an air medical operator that primarily provides emergency medical services for John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

The airport also serves as a key area of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, an annual international IndyCar Series event that attracts visitors to Pinellas County from across the globe. 

Florida’s over 125 public-use airports are economic engines for the state, representing some of the largest aviation facilities in the world and providing critical transportation connections for their local communities. By supporting jobs both on- and off-airport property, Florida’s airports support the infrastructure necessary for important activities such as manufacturing, logistics, tourism, and emergency response.

In 2021, Florida welcomed over 43 million out-of-state visitors through its commercial service airports and over 4.6 million visitors through its general aviation airports. Over 3,500 businesses operate at Florida’s airports and their 161,000 direct employees create substantial economic impacts.

To help quantify and communicate these immense contributions, the FDOT Aviation Office initiated the development of the 2022 Florida Aviation Economic Impact Study. This study calculates each airport’s annual monetary contribution to its local, regional, and statewide economies. This study determined that Florida’s aviation system generated 2,009,088 jobs and contributed $336 billion in 2021 to the state’s economy, accounting for 13.5% of Florida’s gross domestic product (GDP).* 

*Totals include new off-airport air cargo impacts developed for this update


Contact: Walt Driggers