ARA a Valuable Asset for the Area
July 26, 2015
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  • It probably surprised few to read in last Sunday’s Daily Iberian how Acadiana Regional Airport has a big economic impact on our area, but it may have surprised a few to see the value of that impact estimated at more than $96 million for 2011.

    That total included LeMaire Memorial in Jeanerette that is a part of the airport district’s operation.

    The bigdollarfigure for the impact of theairport came from a study by the state Department of Transportation and Development that looked at 68 airports in the state.

    The study noted for 2011 how ARA was averaging 100,977 annual flight operations and was connected to 1,101 jobs with a payroll of $29.8 million.
    Most have heard estimates of how one payroll dollar gets recirculated in a local economy multiple times. That rollover impact has been talked about for years.

    Economist John Maynard Keys used the term “local multiplier effect” in his 1936 book, “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.”

    The multiplier effect says that payroll dollars get spent locally on other goods and services, and then the vendors who earned those dollars spend that money on still other goods and services.

    Some peg the multiplier effect at six, seven or eight times that a single payroll dollar gets recirculated in an economy.

    No matter the number, if ARA is associated with nearly $30 million in payroll dollars paid locally, the impact of the multiplier effect is obviously significant.

    And consider the impact is more than just direct payroll dollars for airport personnel or others who work for private companies at the airport.

    There are business and personal travelers who come to the airport who rent a car, stay at local hotels, eat at local restaurants. Those and other expenditures fund payrolls for other off-airport companies, generating still more payroll dollars that then have their own multiplier effect in our area.

    The airport is benefitting from a number of capital-improvement projects currently underway or soon to start, and has other plans for improvements and expansion as part of its 20-year master plan.

    Acadiana Regional Airport is an asset most any community would love to have, and our community is most fortunate to have it here and contributing significantly to our economy — to the tune of about $100 million based on this recently released study.

    Hopefully ARA will continue to get support from federal, state and local government officials, and for sure from local residents.

    We’re darned lucky to have an asset like ARA, and need to support its efforts to help it continue to expand its positive impact on not just this community but this region.