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Aviation Bringing in Billions for State; Funding Still Lacking
September 17, 2010
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  • By Lindsey Elliott

    Aviation makes up nearly 8.5 percent of the economy, a driving economic engine for the state

    “Without aircraft manufacturing, aviation in Kansas wouldn’t be what it is today and the Kansas economy would be drastically smaller,” Lt. Governor Troy Findley said.

    The state’s 140 airports employ 47,000 people and all the people that ride those flights produce $10.4 billion for the Kansas economy.

    The findings are from the Kansas Aviation Economic Impact Study, which the Kansas Department of Transportation conducted to see what effect airports have on the state. While the numbers look good, they could be better.

    “As we all know, the aviation industry in Kansas has taken a hard hit by this recession,” Findley said.

    Although some places are thriving.

    Manhattan is having success at their airport which is amazing given the state of the economy overall across the nation,” FAA Manager for the Central Regions Airport Division Jim Johnson said.

    Something state officials didn’t even expect.

    “You know, I’ll be honest, I’m surprised,” KDOT Secretary Deb Miller said. “I just wondered, would it be able to survive and not only has it survived, it’s thrived and they’re adding round trips to Chicago.”

    MHK had planned on taking away a flight to Dallas Fort Worth when the Chicago flights start in November, but have decided to keep all four daily flights because of the popularity.

    However the study finds airports are still lacking. The long term plan calls for all airports to have a security plan. Right now, only 23 percent do.

    Another concern for the state’s long term plan is funding. The study estimates $665 million will be needed to improve airports over the next 20 years, but based on the money coming from state and federal grants in 2009, Kansas will be short $147 million in funding.

    Source: KTKA-TV (KS)
    Date: 2010-08-25