April 20, 2016
Centennial Airport is located in the center of the Denver Tech Center, surrounded by 23 individual business parks, and only 13 miles from downtown Denver. It is an international facility with 24-hour U.S. Customs, a 24/7 Federal Aviation Administration control tower, and all-weather capability. The economic impact of the airport to the local community is estimated at nearly $1 billion annually.
At Colorado Airport, Common Ground Paves the Way for Common Good
As one of the nation’s top two or three community airports, there are few pilots who are unfamiliar with Denver’s Centennial Airport. Largely due to the hard work of APA management and community outreach efforts by many on the airport, most of the general public who live and work in the area southeast of Denver where Centennial is located are also familiar with the airport and understand the economic and social benefits it brings to their region. The airport’s handling of noise concerns has also been a model of responsiveness and openness that has actually resulted in greatly diminished numbers of noise complaints over the past several years.
Centennial Overview 2009
August 5, 2009
Situated in the heart of Denver’s Tech Center, 15 miles southeast of the city, and surrounded by 23 business parks, Centennial Airport (APA) is an unquestionable asset for business in the Denver region. “This airport supports more than 6,000 businesses in a five-mile radius,” says APA Executive Director Robert Olislagers, speaking of the important economic activity this community airport generates in the local area.
According to the 2008 Colorado Airport Economic Impact Study, a survey conducted by the state aeronautics division every five years, APA employs 10,485 people, pays $367 million in wages and has an economic impact of $987 million. Expand the impact radius to the Tech Center, and the area is “responsible for a quarter of the state’s GDP,” Olislagers says.
“Centennial is a member of all the surrounding chambers of commerce, economic development groups and the Centennial Airport Business Association,” says Olislagers.
The airport clearly provides a good return on the federal investments it has received. In 2009, Centennial received $9 million in FAA improvement funds, as well as $3.1 million in other federal funding for pavement projects that closed the main runway, the 10,000-foot 17L/35R, for 45 days starting in May. The tower directed all traffic to the 7,000-foot Runway 17R/35L and 4,800-foot Runway 10/28.
A proactive communicator, airport management created “Centennial Airport Construction 2009,” a brochure with a color-coded map that shows when and where the work – such as new high-speed runway connectors to increase capacity – will affect operations. Widely disseminated, especially among the airport’s 150 businesses and five FBOs, the brochure is on the airport’s comprehensive, easy-to-navigate web site at www.centennialairport.com. Updates top the home page and the airport’s e-mail newsletters.
Olislagers and his team understand the need to interact with the people who live near the airport, as well as the businesses, and he meets regularly with homeowners’ associations. The Centennial Airport/Community Noise Roundtable held its inaugural meeting in July at APA’s Gold Crown Hotel. One of the dozen recommendations stemming from a 2008 noise study, the roundtable is modeled on groups at airports like O’Hare (ORD) and Los Angeles International (LAX) and will balance the needs of the airport and community.
The philanthropic side of the airport has taken shape as the Centennial Airport Foundation, which raises and redistributes funds to support aerospace education, math and science at Denver-area schools, colleges and museums. Volunteer “ambassadors” lead airport tours at least once a week, and more during the school year.
The airport celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008. “We’ve been successful in telling the story that Centennial is a key part of the area’s economic backbone [and] contributing to local prosperity,” Olislagers said.