April 28, 2016

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) is conducting a survey so state officials can better gauge the economic benefits of general aviation.

“This is a perfect chance for NBAA members to prove once again the positive impact our industry has on a state’s economy,” NBAA Northwest Regional Representative Kristi Ivey said of the state’s General Aviation Visitor’s Survey, which is now open for participants.

Data previously gathered by the Alliance for Aviation Across America showed that Montana had 128 public-use airports, which created 1,258 jobs and an annual payroll of more than $36 million. According to the FAA, there are 20 FAA repair stations and 62 FBOs in Montana. While MDT data indicates that 292,000 people fly into the state aboard general aviation aircraft every year, officials are trying to quantify the economic boost they give the state in general, and its various industries in particular.

“The survey asks how many people are traveling in your party, as well as well as how many nights you stay, where you land and where you are from,” said Pam Keidel-Adams, with MDT consulting firm Kimley-Horn. “It also asks about your spending on meals, lodging, ground transportation, if you are visiting on business, and what sort of company are you calling on.”

The survey data will be compiled to measure visitor spending at and around individual airports throughout the state. The results will be sorted to show average spending statewide and in each community where an airport is located.

Ivey said the results will give state officials a strong indication of how much Montana’s airports bring to the economy, not only as economic engines unto themselves, but as gateways for economic development.

View the survey.