South Carolina is celebrating aviation at a time when the business of flight has never been a bigger player in the state.
Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler has joined in proclaiming Aug 23-29 as General Aviation Appreciation Week.
“Mayor Butler’s proclamation helps highlight the economic benefits and valuable service that general aviation provides to the City of Orangeburg and the State of South Carolina,” said Selena Shilad, executive director of the Alliance for Aviation Across America.
Estimates are that aviation contributes $417 million annually in economic activity in South Carolina.
Benefits and services include:
His study, titled “Uncovering the Stealth Cluster: The Economic Impact of Civilian and Military Aerospace on South Carolina,” was released by New Carolina-South Carolina’s Council on Competitiveness and the university’s Ronald E. McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research during the state’s first-ever Aerospace Industry Day held in Columbia in August 2014.
An industry “cluster” is a group of complementary businesses that focuses on or serves the same industry. They come together to increase efficiency and innovation within that industry, while boosting the overall economy in a region. Clusters attract more businesses to an area and provide more opportunities for existing businesses to grow.
South Carolina’s aerospace cluster includes private-sector firms operating directly within the industry (known as the “aerospace core”), the state’s four military aviation facilities and smaller private companies supporting the aviation and aerospace industries. Among the key findings of the study:
Since 2010, South Carolina’s aerospace core has had an average annual employment growth rate of 11.4 percent, which is approximately eight times higher than the employment growth rate for the state over the same time period.
Since 2010, South Carolina’s aerospace core has had an average annual firm growth rate of 19.2 percent, with the majority of growth originating in small firms with five or fewer employees.
The average compensation for a civilian aerospace employee is $70,748, which is significantly higher than South Carolina’s average employee compensation of $41,206.
The aerospace cluster generates $532,096,021 in state tax revenue per year.
Boeing’s major presence in Charleston is the catalyst for South Carolina as an emerging leader in aerospace.
“Much like BMW accelerated the growth of the state’s automotive industry, South Carolina’s aerospace industry has grown exponentially since Boeing selected the Charleston region in 2009,” Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt has said. “And the ‘Boeing boost’ continues as we recruit major global suppliers … that serve the aerospace cluster in South Carolina.”
As much as Orangeburg’s commitment to general aviation through the city’s Orangeburg Municipal Airport remains a sound one in the pursuit of economic development, our hope is the “Boeing boost” will add to the enterprises associated with the aerospace industry landing in our locale with its proximity to Charleston.