Aviation is soaring in Louisiana, according to an economic impact study of the industry and the state’s 68 public airports released by the Department of Transportation and Development.
The study, prepared by consultant CDM Smith, updated research from 2011. The November 2019 update noted increased economic output of 38 percent, total employment up 43 percent, and payroll growth of 49 percent.The state airport system consists of seven commercial airports and 61 general aviation airports.
In 2018, Louisiana’s airports supported approximately 84,400 jobs compared to 58,900 jobs in 2011. Payrolls of $2.6 billion annually had risen from $1.8 billion in 2011.
The economic output added up to $9.3 billion, improving on the 2011 figure of $6.7 billion. “These numbers include expenditures by hundreds of on-airport businesses and millions of visitors, as well as the multiplier effect associated with this spending. In addition, Louisiana residents depend on aviation to support their health, welfare, and safety needs,” said the report’s summary.
The importance of aircraft maintenance workers to the aviation industry was highlighted in the report’s analysis of direct employment at GA airports. With hundreds employed supporting military aircraft at a Northrop Grumman facility at Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles, maintenance accounted for 39 percent of the GA airport direct employment, with military (15 percent), charter operations (13 percent), and FBOs (6 percent) also having a significant presence.
Tourism and business aviation were among leading participants in the GA segment, with air taxis playing a crucial role providing “essential transportation links for oil workers to the numerous oil platforms they work on in the Gulf of Mexico,” the report said.