November 21, 2012

The recently released 2012 Indiana Airports Economic Impact Study, done by the Aviation Association of Indiana (AAI), provides ample evidence that, as the report states, “Hoosier airports are the lifeblood for hundreds of companies across the state, allowing them to compete in a global economy while supporting jobs and economic growth in small communities across the heartland.”

For example, the 69 airports listed in the state aviation system plan provide 69,149 jobs with a $4.1 billion payroll and a total economic impact of $14.1 billion. GA airports provide a substantial portion of those jobs, with 46 percent of the total, as well as 43 percent of the total payroll. The total economic output from Indiana’s GA airports accounts for $5.886 billion, 41 percent of total of all airports within the state.

Review the 2012 Indiana Airports Economic Impact Study (PDF 2.88 MB)

The study covers all aspects of aviation, including commercial and military. However, it emphasizes the dominant role of general aviation, a point clearly made by Gov. Mitch Daniels when he issued a proclamation earlier this year extolling the benefits of general aviation:

“General aviation and community airports play a critical role in the lives of our citizens, as well as in the operation of our businesses and farms; and the state of Indiana has a significant interest in the continued vitality of general aviation, aerospace, aircraft manufacturing, educational institutions and aviation organizations, and community airports and airport operators.”

The report also underscores how Indiana’s aviation businesses – including Jasper Engines, Belt Tech and Metal Technologies – contribute to the state’s economy, and highlights the aviation educational opportunities available through five university and collegiate programs in Indiana. Connected to them is Swift Fuels, a new company in the Purdue Research Park, that’s leading the way in development in unleaded/biofuel replacement for traditional avgas.

The economic data for the study first was collected from on-airport businesses and airport users in 2011 and 2012 by AAI and Conexus Indiana, an initiative to capitalize on emerging opportunities in advanced manufacturing and logistics. Commonly accepted economic impact multipliers then were applied to the numbers to evaluate aviation’s total economic contribution to Indiana. The multiplier impacts are the result of either a business or its employees spending money in the local economy.

Calling the study “effective and proactive,” NBAA Midwest Regional Representative Bob Quinn said it was an essential “component that each state needs to establish the importance of general aviation’s economic impact.”