Airports contribute $11 billion to Missouri's economy
The 108 airports in Missouri contributed $11 billion to Missouri’s economy, with $3.1 billion of that coming from 100,621 jobs, according to a study released by the Missouri Department of Transportation.
The study looked at direct impact money, which includes the salaries of airport workers, ticket revenue and contractors hired for construction. In addition to the direct impact, there is indirect impact money that includes hotel room and rental car sales.
MoDOT Aviation Operations Manager Bryan Gregory says the main reason for the growth in the past year is related to commercial airports.
"The main reason for the growth is largely an increase in business increase," Gregory said. "We haven’t seen a largely increase in general aviation statewide, which would be the private pilots out there flying for their own use, but in business activity we have seen an increase."
Columbia Public Works spokesperson Steven Sapp says that Columbia Regional Airport contributes $87 million to the local economy. The airport employs 745 workers with a payroll around $27 million. Sapp says stability in the airports flight provider helps keep planes relatively full.
"Well it certainly seems we have a stable air carrier at this point in American Airlines," Sapp said. "Our passenger load demands, both on the enplanement and deplanement side are always, at least so far, in the low 80s and have spiked as high as the mid-to-upper 80 percent range which is extremely well."
In addition to employment and airline stability, Sapp says that construction contracted out to local businesses contributes to the local economy. Columbia Regional Airport is also bringing in a second daily non-stop flight to Chicago in April 2014, which Sapp says will increase the airport capacity to 200 passengers, both in and out bound, per day.