WESTMINSTER | Proponents of a Colorado spaceport told an aerospace and aviation task force at the Adams County Economic Development office in Westminster on Thursday that as airports grow, so does the economy.
The Colorado Spaceport, based at Front Range Airport, aims to change the way people travel by offering suborbital flights and creating a new hub for the aerospace industry and space tourism in the state.
Dave Gordon, director of aeronautics for The Colorado Department of Transportation, presented a study showing airports pumped $36.7 billion into the state’s economy in 2013, an increase of $4.5 billion from 2008. The study was conducted by CDOT and the Colorado Aeronautics Division.
The study showed the overwhelming share of this year’s economic activity came from Denver International Airport, a commercial hub. But Gordon pointed out general aviation airports like Front Range also made gains, where their economic impact rose from $1.9 billion in 2008 to $2.4 billion in 2013.
“If you look at Rocky Mountain Metro Airport, you’ve got a lot of corporate headquarters around there, a lot of development,” Gordon said. “Some day, the same thing will happen with Front Range.”
Rocky Mountain Metro Airport had the second-highest economic impact for general aviation airports in the state following Centennial Airport, which generated more than $1 billion this year for the local economy.
The study showed that Front Range Airport had an economic impact of $75,527,117 for 2013.
Front Range Airport is expected to receive its license to become a spaceport in 2014, according to the Colorado Space Coalition.
But Vicky Lea, manager of the Colorado Space Coalition, said the state’s space industry could start feeling the effects of the sequester in 2015, which could in turn, affect the spaceport.
“We need to be prepared for these cuts because we do have a big military contingent spread up and down the Front Range. It could impact our standing,” she said.