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Missouri Study Highlights Value of Local Airports

Dec. 5, 2013

A study conducted on behalf of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) underscored the significant economic contributions derived from the nine commercial-use and 99 public-use general aviation (GA) airports in the state.

Released last month, the 2012 Missouri Statewide Airports Economic Impact Study determined that aviation pumps approximately $11.1 billion annually into the state's economy, a figure that represents 4.3 percent of Missouri's gross state product and a 17.1 increase over the past decade.

Moreover, the study determined that business aviation was a key factor in that growth.

“Business aviation fueled a large part of that growth, which came despite the economic downturn in recent years,” said MoDOT Aviation Operations Manager Bryan Gregory. “By comparison, the amount of commercial airline activity in our state has remained largely the same since 2002.”

The 10-year study, conducted by Landrum & Brown and underwritten by a grant from the FAA, measured the direct and indirect financial contributions from the state’s airports through interviews with airport managers and employees, fixed-base operator surveys and visitor interviews.

Officials with one of the nation's newest facilities, Branson Municipal Airport (BKG), spotlighted the more than $91 million annual contribution to Missouri’s economy and 1,460 jobs created since the privately owned airport opened in May 2009, with robust GA traffic supplementing the facility’s commercial airline options.

Overall, the study determined Missouri’s 108 airports support 100,621 jobs with a payroll of $3.1 billion. According to MoDOT, the state is home to nearly 500 aviation facilities in all, including airports, heliports, seaplane bases and private airfields.

“Aviation and airports’ value goes beyond economic contributions,” the study noted. “Aviation also contributes to Missourians’ quality of life, through rescue and health flights, agricultural spraying, forest and traffic monitoring, and other activities.”

Local media outlets called attention to the study’s findings regarding their hometown airfields. As one example, the Rolla Daily News highlighted the study's determination that Rolla National Airport (VIH) contributes more than $28 million annually to the state economy, supporting 141 jobs throughout the central Missouri community. Review the article.

“This study is indicative of the proactive nature that Missouri has developed in recognizing the need to quantify the important contribution general aviation plays in the state’s economy,” said Bob Quinn, NBAA’s central regional representative. “This same recognition has been shown in recent years with other aviation initiates such as the broadly supported Missouri State Legislative Day, by the governor’s proclamations of aviation importance and by significant tax legislation passed in support of aviation related jobs.”

Review the 2012 Missouri Statewide Airports Economic Impact Study.