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Springfield - 91.1
Branson - 90.5
West Plains - 90.3
Mountain Grove - 88.7
Joplin - 98.9
Neosho - 103.7
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MoDOT Study Shows Airports Have a Major Impact on Jobs, Economy

Airplane
(Photo credit: Sean MacEntee via flickr)

The study is called the Statewide Airport Economic Impact Study, and it covers the 2012 calendar year.

Bryan Gregory is an operations manager with MoDOT.

“Economic impact is just one impact that Missouri airports have on society. Missouri airports are also used to rescue lost people, transport patients and medical personnel. They’re used quite often for agricultural spring and to treat crops and monitor forests. They’re many other activities that go on at an airport that contribute to our quality of life. The economic impact is simply one of the more quantifiable measures,” Gregory said.

According to the study, the Branson Airport created 1,460 jobs with a total payroll of about $35,000,000 and a total economic impact of about $90,000,000.

Kent Boyd with the Springfield-Branson National Airport says he was pleasantly surprised by the Springfield airport’s numbers. The total number of jobs was close to 4,500 and the payroll was about $150,000,000. The study said the airport’s total economic output was just over $400,000,000.

“Well we were honestly surprised at how big the estimated economic impact of this airport was. We always knew it was a lot, but sometimes as you go through day-to-day business you sometimes get blinders on,” Boyd said.

Boyd said the airport can use these numbers as a benchmark.

“We’re always striving to increase our income and to generate more dollars regardless. In fact, one of the trends in the airport industry these days is to try to generate more income from sources that have nothing to do with aviation. The reason for that is that the aviation industry for the past few years has been in a great state of flux due to the recession and high fuel prices. So it’s been in the interest of airports to try and generate revenue from other places. An example of that in this airport is the leasing of the old terminal building to Expedia,” Boyd said.

According to the study, Joplin’s airport created about 250 jobs with a payroll of $10,000,000. Its total economic output was about $27,000,000.

Bryan Gregory at MoDOT said these numbers will be used for further research.

 “We will now take this information on a statewide basis and combine this into a statewide system plan which is something we will be doing within the next couple of years to help us identify where the biggest needs are or maybe there’s an area that’s underserved with an airport and really needs some bigger improvements,” Gregory said.

For KSMU News, I’m Briana Simmons.