By Matt Koesters
JEFFERSONVILLE — Clark County Regional Airport contributes more than $234 million in economic output to the region and sustains the existence of 1,121 jobs in Clark County, according to a study published by the Aviation Association of Indiana and Conexus Indiana in November in partnership with the Indiana Department of Transportation.
“According to INDOT records, Clark Regional Airport is the third-busiest [regional] airport in the state,” Airport Manager Melodee McNames said. “Only Valparaiso and Indianapolis Regional have more based aircraft than us, so the $235-million impact doesn’t surprise me.”
Clark County Regional Airport has 131 full-time employees with a payroll of about $7 million, while an additional 714 jobs with a payroll of $44.8 million exist as a direct result of the airport’s existence, according to the report. Additionally, the report figures in “multiplier” affects to both jobs and payroll.
“These multiplier impacts are the result of either the business itself or the business employee spending money in the local economy,” according to the report. “For example, if a flight instructor takes his or her paycheck and buys lunch at a local restaurant, that money supports the payroll for the waiter, cook and busboy at the restaurant who, in turn, may spend their paychecks on childcare, groceries or other items, continuing the cycle until those dollars may eventually leave the community.”
The report’s multiplier impact for jobs stemming from Clark County Regional Airport is 275 with a payroll of $10.4 million, for an average salary of $37,880. The multiplier effect for economic output is $32.5 million, according to the report.
Operators at each of Indiana’s 69 airports were surveyed between 2011-12. The respondents provided data about their businesses, employees and what percentage of sales or output was directly attributable to their use of their local airport. After all key information was gathered, Conexus Indiana input the information into IMPLAN, an economic-impact analysis software recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration, which combines employment data with location- and industry-specific economic data to calculate each airport’s economic impact, according to the report.
“We’re helping the economy grow and prosper one flight at a time,” said Tom Galligan, president of the Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners. “Most people don’t realize that we have inbound flights from practically every state in the country. Business moves through this airport every day. Whether it’s transporting products, customers, sales staff or company executives, Clark Regional keeps this county in pace with the global economy.”
Statewide, airports serve the transportation needs of more than 6.5 million Hoosiers, according to the report, and account for 69,149 jobs and a total payroll of $4.1 billion.
“These study results paint a clear picture of the value of Indiana’s airports, not only to residents who rely on air travel for business and pleasure, but to the thousands of businesses that rely on airport services to move people and products,” said Bart Geisler, executive director of the Aviation Association of Indiana. “This backs our continued assertion that aviation investment by the state creates jobs in the private sector. Airports connect Hoosier businesses to their customers, and this connection means jobs.”
The Aviation Association of Indiana lobbies the Indiana General Assembly and other state and local units of government on behalf of public-use airports across the state. Conexus Indiana is the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership’s advanced manufacturing and logistics initiative.