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Study Says Impact of Putnam Airport Now Tops $100 Million
December 7, 2012
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  • The Putnam County Airport contributes and supports more than $103.5 million in economic output and creates and sustains 490 jobs with a payroll exceeding $22.3 million here in Putnam County, a new Indiana economic study reports.

    Such economic impact underscores the vital role the airport plays in the economic vitality of our community, local officials note.

    The statewide contribution of more than $14 billion in economic output demonstrates the importance of aviation to the state economy.

    “The Putnam County Board of Aviation Commissioners is proud to support the growth of our community,” noted J. R. Scott, chairman of the BOAC. “Our all-volunteer board, with the support of local elected officials, other boards and organizations, has worked hard over the last 20 years to pursue funding and implement various projects to improve and expand the airport.”

    The study data were released earlier this month by the Aviation Association of Indiana (AAI) and Conexus Indiana as part of the 2012 Indiana Airports Economic Study. Both AAI and Conexus Indiana are statewide industry focused organizations with a common goal of supporting Indiana’s airports and leveraging their impact on Indiana’s economy.

    In total, Indiana’s 69 public use airports that make up the state’s Aviation System Plan, of which the Putnam County Airport is one, contribute $14.1 billion in economic output and create and sustain more than 69,000 jobs across the state.

    The Aviation Association of Indiana and Conexus Indiana partnered with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to develop the 24-page report that outlines the economic benefits of Indiana’s airports to its citizens, elected officials, and business leaders.

    “The Putnam County Airport is a critical element of community infrastructure just like good roads and utilities,” noted Bill Dory of the Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center. “The airport supports at least five of our major employers that use it on a regular basis. Other businesses make use of the airport at various times throughout the year.”

    Additional study results include:

    — Indiana airports serve the needs of more than 6.5 million Hoosiers.

    — Indiana airports account for a total payroll of $4.1 billion.

    — Of the total 69,145 jobs, approximately 30 percent exist at the Indianapolis International Airport.

    — Another 23 percent of the jobs exist at the other three commercial airports in the state, including Evansville, Fort Wayne and South Bend.

    — The remaining 47 percent of jobs are found at Indiana’s 65 general aviation airports such as the Putnam County Airport.

    In addition to creating and supporting jobs in communities across the state, Indiana airports provide Hoosier communities with support for business and personal transportation, air cargo and logistics operations, emergency medical transportation, law enforcement support, search and rescue efforts, aerial agricultural operations, flight training and education, land surveying and entertainment.

    All of those activities occur at the Putnam County Airport throughout the year.

    “The numbers once again tell the story about the positive impact of Indiana’s aviation industry,” Kevin Brinegar, president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, said. “That impact extends well beyond the commercial airports in the larger cities to the many general aviation facilities that provide timely service to local businesses and individuals throughout the state.”

    Regionally, the report states:

    * The Clay County airport supports a total of 76.8 jobs, associated payrolls exceeding $3.2 million and a total output of more than $12.8 million.

    * In Montgomery County, the Crawfordsville Municipal Airport is estimated to support 255 total jobs, payrolls of $13 million and overall output of $80 million.

    * The Terre Haute airport impacts 772.4 jobs, payrolls of $39.8 million and an overall output of $68.7 million.

    The study was modeled after FAA-endorsed study methodologies to determine the economic impact of both on-airport and off-airport property businesses to the state’s economy.

    That includes the economic impact of businesses located on airport property, such as airlines, air traffic control, aviation support operations such as Dixie Chopper Air, and airport users, including businesses that use airport services to support business functions.

    The overall economic impact of airports to the state; however, includes more than direct contributions from on-airport and off-airport businesses. When businesses themselves or their employees spend money in the local community to purchase food, pay for childcare or entertainment those dollars are also accounted for in the overall economic impact.

    The economic impact outlined in the 2012 report takes into consideration all direct, indirect, and residual economic impacts.

    “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 or 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.”

    A full copy of the report can be found on the AAI website at or the Conexus Indiana website at