Massachusetts general aviation airports an economic boon
March 22, 2012
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  • March 18, 2012 By: Janice Wood
    Massachusetts’ 30 general aviation airports accounted for 4,307 jobs, nearly $138 million in salaries and had a total economic impact on the state of more than $443 million in 2010, according to the Massachusetts Statewide Airport Economic Impact Study published recently by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MADOT) Aeronautics Division.
    The report also recognized that Massachusetts’ GA and commercial airports “provide many qualitative benefits related to the health, welfare, and safety that help preserve and improve the overall quality of life in the Commonwealth.”
    Benefits include: Facilitating emergency medical transport Providing police support Providing youth-outreach activities Conducting search-and-rescue operations Supporting the U.S. military and other government organizations
    The study evaluated the impact of all 39 of Massachusetts’ public-use airports, including commercial facilities such as Boston Logan International. Included in the commercial category were several regional airports, including Laurence G. Hanscom Field in Bedford and New Bedford Regional Airport. “They all have commercial service, but general aviation is a big driver in all of these facilities,” said Christopher J. Willenborg, administrator for the MADOT Aeronautics Division.
    The study also calculated the economic impact of aircraft maintenance service businesses. It found that the 63 maintenance facilities operating in the state employed 773 workers for a total payroll of $40,284,000.
    The report said the state’s airports generated $11.9 billion in total annual economic activity, including $4.9 billion in payroll for 124,369 aviation-related jobs. The study used an FAA-approved methodology for calculating not only the direct economic impact and benefits of aviation businesses, but also the “multiplier” effects of aviation-related employee spending on other areas of the economy. “For example, when FBO [fixed base operator] employees use their salary to buy groceries at the local store, their spending helps support that store and its employees,” the report said. “That spending then re-circulates, or multiplies, in local economies.”
    However, looking solely at direct and multiplier economic impacts within the state, the study calculated that every $100 spent directly by an aviation-related business in Massachusetts creates an additional $56 of impact within the state borders.
    The MADOT Aeronautics Division produced the study with funding from the FAA. The goal of the study is to promote the strong economic and qualitative life benefits of the state’s commercial and GA airports to a variety of audiences.
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    Date: 2012-03-08