The Rolla National Airport in Vichy contributes approximately $28 million to Missouri’s economy, a recent study released by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) finds.
Using Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines, the Missouri Statewide Airports Economic Impact Study looked at direct and indirect impacts nine commercial and 99 public-use airports make to Missouri’s economy.
Bryan Gregory, MoDOT aviation operations manager, told the Daily News Monday that MoDOT hired the consultant Landrum and Brown to conduct the study. A federal grant from the FAA helped fund the study, Gregory said.
Darrin Bacon, manager of the Rolla National Airport, said the consultant visited the airport and spoke with airport staff and reviewed documents kept, such as the number of employees and the average number of airplanes that come in and out of the airport.
The study showed that Rolla airport contributes 141 jobs with an estimated payroll of $5,653,000. Jobs represent the number of people who are employed and are presented as full-time equivalent jobs. Payroll represents the total annual wages, salaries and benefits paid to all workers.
Jobs would include city employees, such as the airport manager, as well as the fixed based operator (FBO) — Baron Aviation — and the Bacon flight instruction. Contractors who worked on the airport aprons and runways also would count toward this total.
Jobs from the Brewer Science, which is building a facility at the airport, would not be included, Gregory said.
When all economic activities are considered, total annual economic output of the Rolla National Airport is estimated at $28,455,000. Output measures the value of goods, services and capital expenditures.
The study showed that 108 of the airports statewide that MoDOT helps support contribute 100,621 jobs with an estimated payroll of $3.1 billion to the Missouri economy.
Total annual economic output of Missouri’s system of airports is estimated at $11.1 billion. This represents 4.3 percent of the gross state product. The study used data from 2012.
The study indicated that the economic contribution of Missouri airports grew 17.1 percent in the past decade – despite the economic recession.
A brochure from the study listed benefits of the Rolla airport, which noted that common activities at the airport consist of corporate flying, flight training, aerial inspections, law enforcement operations, cargo operations and recreational flying.
Many businesses fly in their corporate jets for job fairs at Missouri University of Science and Technology and students and faculty use the airport to conduct aerospace experiments, the brochure states.
Military training operations also often occur at the airport. Fort Leonard Wood utilizes the airport for helicopter training known as Operation Cracked Earth. Seasonal activities include aerial agricultural spraying, environmental patrols, aerial photography and forest firefighting, according to the brochure.
The airport enhances the quality of life in the area by supporting emergency medical evacuation, medical doctor transports and animal rescue and transports.