Passengers at the New York City area's three major airports contributed nearly $94 billion in economic activity to the region in 2014, according to a report from Global Gateway Alliance, a travelers' advocacy group.
Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports combined handled a record number of airline passengers last year, with each passenger contributing an average of $810 to the regional economy, the Manhattan-based group said.
"As a leading global city with a booming tourism industry, we rely on our airports and their passengers to help fuel our economy," alliance chairman Joe Sitt said in a statement.
The group's researchers analyzed data from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to come up with the figures.
The overall economic impact was based on data on spending in the metropolitan area by visitors before and after their flights, and airport-related employment.
The report combined estimated wages ($10.9 billion) and sales ($28.9 billion) related to visitation, and wages ($14.2 billion) and sales ($39.8 billion) from employment related to servicing aircraft, passengers, freight and mail at the three airports.
A 2005 study by the Port Authority estimated the combined impact of aviation operations, airport investment and tourism resulting from the metro airports at $57 billion.
The Port Authority owns and operates the hubs, as well as Atlantic City and Teterboro airports in New Jersey and Stewart International in Westchester.
Spokesman Ron Marsico said the agency's six airports currently support more than 550,000 jobs with $28 billion in annual wages.
The Alliance, which lobbies for upgrades to the region's airports and transportation infrastructure, has studied the economic impact of the airports in the past, but had never before calculated travelers' financial impact on the region.
Kennedy contributed the most economic impact last year, estimated at $832 per passenger, the group said.
There were 53.3 million passengers at Kennedy last year, a 5.56 percent increase from 2013, making it the sixth-busiest hub in the country, according to data from the Port Authority and Airports Council International.
LaGuardia's nearly 27 million passengers contributed an average of $812 to the region last year, and Newark's 35.6 million passengers generated $777 on average, the Alliance report said. Based on passenger volume, LaGuardia was the 20th-busiest airport in the country last year and Newark ranked 15th, according to the Port Authority.
The growing demand on the airports has met with heavy delays and congestion on the ground and in the air.
Sitt called for urgency in overhauling LaGuardia's main terminal, as well as Newark's Terminal A, the hotel at Kennedy and the PATH extension to Newark.
Hourly flight caps put in place at the airports by the FAA should be removed, he said, since they haven't reduced airport delays, but have stifled growth.
"If we don't invest in 21st century airports, we risk running out of room for these valuable passengers," Sitt said.