By Lynn Hopewell
March 16, 2011
JAMESTOWN – The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission has announced the results of a recent study regarding the economic impact of aviation in the state of North Dakota. Martin Short of Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson presented a summary review to the Jamestown Regional Airport Authority board of directors on Wednesday.
The study analyzed several aspects of the aviation industry and related activity, concluding that the industry as a whole in North Dakota creates nearly 15,500 jobs and produces $1.6 billion in economic impact across the state.
Commercial airlines in North Dakota boarded 798,965 passengers in 2010, an 11 percent increase over 2009, and general aviation aircraft conducted an estimated 673,000 operations in 2010. The 89 airports in North Dakota created 9,792 jobs involving the aviation industry.
Aviation employees receive about $366 million in payroll, and airport activity generates around $1.1 billion in economic output.
The study concluded that activity related to aviation, but occurring off of airport property includes aerospace manufacturing, which provides 4,434 jobs and approximately $487 million in economic output. Within this category is the growing unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry, which has an estimated impact of $27.1 million and 231 jobs.
Breaking the results down to the local level shows that the Jamestown Regional Airport in 2010 saw a 25% increase in boardings, with visitors that arrived by air spending an average of $290 per person, per day, while in Jamestown.
Aviation is credited with $6.6 million in direct economic impact, with the visitors’ impact put at around $1.3 million. By the time the money rotates through the economy, the overall impact of aviation on the Jamestown economy is put at $13.1 million for 2010.
In a separate report, airport manager Matthew Leitner told the board the airport had already set a new record for boardings in March on the 15th of the month. He anticipates continued strong activity through the balance of the month.
Mayor Katie Andersen called the information from the study and from Leitner exciting news for the community.
Airport Authority Board chair, Jim Boyd, said the numbers from the study took him a little by surprise, but that he was pleased that the numbers supported his assertions about the value of the field. Boyd said that Jamestown College students are conducting a local study of the impact the airport has on the community. The board expects to hear a summary of that study at its April meeting.