Minnesota's Crystal Airport, one of six GA reliever airports for Minneapolis-St. Paul International, has been under attack for more than a year, with proponents of closing the airport claiming it is an economic drain and provides no benefit to the local community. But an October 2005 study conducted by Wilder Research for the Metropolitan Airports Commission's (MAC) proves otherwise. The Economic Impact Analysis of the Reliever Airport System proves that the airport is a key component of the MAC-operated reliever system and generates millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs annually.
"This study shows that Crystal Airport generates $19.3 million and 200 jobs for the surrounding community each year. Plus it brings in nearly $4 million in visitor spending annually," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports. "Those opposed to Crystal Airport can no longer say the airport doesn't contribute to the local economy—its significance is clearly spelled out."
Crystal Airport has four runways-more than any of the other five airports in the Minneapolis-St. Paul reliever system—and it boasts more than 180,000 operations a year.
The study also pointed out the nationally accepted statistic for an airport's contribution to the local community. The U.S. Department of Commerce indicates that for every dollar spent at an airport, $2.15 is generated off airport in the local community.
In total, the six GA reliever airports—Airlake, Anoka County-Blaine, Crystal, Flying Could, Lake Elmo, and St. Paul Downtown—contribute more than $254 million and 2,200 jobs to the Twin Cities area.
"Note that those figures are for the six GA airports alone-they do not include operations or revenue at Minneapolis-St. Paul International," Dunn said. "Each of these airports carries a heavy load and helps keep this the largest and finest reliever system in the United States."
December 15, 2005