November 14, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
Hoosier airports mean Hoosier jobs. That was the clear message of a new economic impact study that credits Indiana’s 69 public-use airports with generating $14.1 billion in economic activity and supporting employment for more than 69,000 workers.
The Aviation Association of Indiana on Nov. 13 released the 2012 Indiana Airports Economic Impact Study in cooperation with the workforce development initiative Conexus Indiana and the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation.
Jobs attributable to aviation in the state generate an annual payroll of $4.1 billion, it said, adding that aviation in Indiana serves the need of 6.5 million state residents.
New study methodology applied to the 2012 report measured the impact of in-airport businesses and airport users, and also captured “multiplier impacts” in the economy of airports’ economic activity.
General aviation’s role was a highlight of the report, which said that Indiana airports “provide Hoosier communities with support for air cargo and logistics operations, emergency medical transportation, law enforcement/search-and-rescue efforts, aerial agricultural operations, flight training and education, land surveying and entertainment.”
The study characterized its conclusions as conservative, partly because of challenges faced by some airports collecting survey information from users.
In a news release announcing the study, Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar said the numbers “once again tell the story about the positive impact of Indiana’s aviation industry.”
“That impact extends well beyond the commercial airports in the larger cities to the many general aviation facilities that provide timely service to local businesses and individuals throughout the state,” he said.
Bart Giesler, AAI’s executive director, added that the report “backs our continued assertion that aviation investment by the state creates jobs in the private sector.”
“AOPA is continuing to work with AAI to promote and preserve general aviation in Indiana,” said Bryan Budds, AOPA’s Great Lakes regional manager.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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