BRANSON, Mo. — Busy waiting rooms during the fall season are a good sign for Jack Bourk, the director of the Branson Airport.
“It’s passengers coming into the area,” Bourk said. “We’re bringing in new people from new places that weren’t able to get here easily and affordably.”
Every airline flying out of Branson is increasing its seating capacity for the winter as more visitors come to the city.
“It’s going to continue to grow as we increase passenger traffic to the airport,” Bourk said.
The airport employs fewer than 150 people directly, but a new economic impact study commissioned by MoDOT shows that the airport’s presence creates more than 1400 jobs.
MoDOT conducts the study every ten years. It’s found that airports have increased their revenues 17 percent since the last study in 2002.
“That growth was fueled largely by an increase in business activity,” said Bryan Gregory, a manager with MoDOT’s aviation division. “We haven’t seen a large increase in commercial service, like passengers getting on planes and traveling.”
But on a statewide scale, Gregory says airports are creating more economic growth by providing services like cargo transport, medical flights or agricultural services.
Mark Parent, the manager of the H. Graham Clark Downtown Airport in Branson, small municipal or county airports can offer those services and more.
“The airport allows companies to land closer in our area than they would typically be able to get to with a commercial service airport,” Parent said. “So we get businesses to locate in smaller communities.”