MANSFIELD, Ohio–At the end of Harrington Memorial Road is Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport, one of the area’s most impactful resources and featured for General Aviation Appreciation Month.
Mansfield Mayor Tim Theaker officially proclaimed December as General Aviation Appreciation Month, noting Lahm Airport has a significant impact on the area’s economy, especially serving as home to theOhio Air National Guard’s 179th Airlift Wing.
“That’s something that’s extremely crucial to this area in that it’s generating tax dollars and bringing jobs to this area,” said Theaker.
According to the proclamation, Ohio’s general aviation airports including Lahm contribute nearly $5.56 billion or $478 per capita to the state’s economy on a yearly basis. General aviation airports alone are responsible for $1.7 billion in economic activity annually, and the total economic impact of aviation in Ohio is $10.5 billion.
Airport Manager Mark Daugherty supervises the 2,400 acres of Lahm Airport, along with only three other airport employees. As of October, between military operations and general aviation operations Daugherty said the airport has seen more than 18,000 activity operations between 2013 and 2014.
“We are still considered a general aviation airport, but along with that we have a Federal Aviation Administration Part 139 operating certificate, which basically allows us to operate just like Columbus, Cleveland, or some of the big commercial airports,” explained Daugherty. “Even though we’re here in Mansfield there are so many surrounding communities that use us just because of the facilities we have available.”
Theaker also pointed out the millions of dollars insalaries that general airports generate; the total employment impact of all airports in Ohio is 142,000 jobs with an annual payroll of nearly $3.2 billion. Ohio’s 98 general aviation system airportssupport a payroll of nearly $287.3 million.
“With the 179th Airlift Wing out there, there’s over 800 employees – we’re pushing 900 employees for the Air National Guard,” said Theaker.
Theaker noted the airport’s economic impact is one reason why during the summer of 2015 the city will renovate one of the runways with funds from the Federal Aviation Administration. Lahm Airport currently has a 9,0001 ft. x 150 ft. primary runway and a crosswind runway of 6,795 ft x 150 ft. plus overruns that can handle both large commercial and military aircraft.
Daugherty stated the airport facilitates many business jets from local companies such asGorman Rupp, ArcelorMittal and Schmidt Securityas well as larger companies such as Menard’s andCenturyLink. He added he appreciates the city’s support of the Lahm Airport, especially considering that many people are surprised to learn Mansfield even has an airport.
“It shows the Federal Aviation Administration that our community supports our operation, which in long-term helps us get federal funding to do some of the projects that we do,” said Daugherty. “I think we’ve got an awesome facility and I’m glad I get to come here every day and make things nice.”