Newton City/County Airport Manager Brian Palmer can sum up the economic impact of the facility – $56.9 million that otherwise would not be there.
At a recent Newton City Commission meeting, Palmer talked about the economic impact of the airport. He took information from a study conducted by the aviation division of the Kansas Dept. of Transportation.
The $56.9 million is the total economic impact of the airport, the report stated. That number is derived from what the report calls first round and second round impacts.
First round impacts entail direct and indirect outputs. Direct impact refers to business conducted at the airport, such as if a customer buys fuel or rents hangar space. These funds bring in $35.7 million, the study said.
Indirect impact refers to business that takes place off the airport, usually attributable to visitor spending. It is the money an airport visitor might spend in a hotel, renting a car, buying food, “all the things you do when you overnight somewhere,” Palmer said.
Second round impacts refer to “induced output” – the re-spending of direct and indirect output dollars. For example, it could be $50 someone pays the airport for fuel, which the airport then spends at Graber Ace Hardware, 208 W. Broadway, or Wenger Oil Co., 2701 N. Anderson Rd.
“We try to buy as much as we can locally to make sure the money stays in Harvey County,” Palmer said. “It’s not a necessary policy. It’s just a good practice.”
Induced input also refers to how employees of the numerous businesses at the airport spend their payroll. There are around 440 employees on airport grounds at such businesses as ABI, Avcon Industries, Midwest Aircraft, Midwest Life Team and Hesston College’s flight school. The total payroll is estimated at $16.7 million.
“The airport is an interesting facility because it has a lot of businesses on it,” said Harvey County Commissioner Chip Westfall, a member of the airport’s advisory committee. “But when you add it all together, you have one quasi-airport employer. The airport itself is a major employer collectively.”
Palmer said the airport sells a minimum of $10,000 in fuel per month. June was the facility’s best month yet for selling fuel in 2015. He expects July to have an equal, if not better amount of sales, weather permitting. The airport usually does better in the second and third quarters – spring and summer.
“People typically fly when the weather is good,” Palmer said.
KDOT’s report was made in around 2009, and Palmer believes there has been growth since then – something the airport is trying continue. The airport is marketing itself as “the quick turn mid-fuel stop,” a place where it takes 14 minutes from the time the plane’s wheels touch the ground until it is completely fueled.
“We’re starting to make progress,” Palmer said. “We’re getting our name out to all the people who fly, it’s a process.”