Posted 3/22/16 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
How important is a local airport to an area’s economy?
According to an economic impact analysis by the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission, Tioga’s impact amounts to about $3.8 million. Crosby’s impact is about $1.5 million.
“It goes to show you we are utilizing an asset in the community for the benefit of that community,” said Chris Norgaard, president of the airport board.
Direct and indirect
The study looked at five areas of economic impacts: airport management, airport tenants, capital investments, general aviation visitors, and commercial visitors.
The analysts then looked at the direct and indirect impacts on the economy. A direct impact would be something like a pilot flying his plane into Crosby and staying the night at a local hotel.
The indirect impacts measure what’s called “multiplier” effects.
An example of these multiplier effects would be the impacts of the hotel’s employees buying groceries at a local grocery store.
According to the study, the entire impact including these multipliers for all airports in the state is $1.56 billion.
Norgaard said the improvements in the past few years have made the airport much more attractive to executive-level people in companies, which can have an impact not measured in the study.
“When you consider high rollers use the airport -- the people who make big decisions -- you see the importance of it. You have got to have a nice airport,” Norgaard said.
The study reported the Tioga airport has two tenants at the airport, which are Knutson Flying Service and Tioga Aerocenter.
Kathy Neset, owner of the Tioga Aerocenter said her fixed based operator business is also important to general aviation, which generates economic activity beyond her business. The pilots stay in hotels, eat at local restaurants, and shop at local businesses.
“We also facilitate the everyday pilot. That’s what this is really all about, and everything benefits,” Neset said.
According to the report, general aviation visitors have increased 72 percent over the past five years.
Crosby’s general aviation activity, according to the report, resulted in one job and $68,821 in direct output.
For Tioga, general aviation resulted in 11 jobs and $882,900 in direct output.
Norgaard pointed out the numbers, which are from the 2014-2015 timeframe, might see some decline when measured next in light of the slowdown in the oil industry.
Total jobs between the two businesses were reported as eight with a combined direct economic output of $871,224.
Knutson Flying Service reported five employees, according to the study, and Tioga Aerocenter reported three.
The Crosby airport did not have any tenants, but its capital investment resulted in five jobs and $769,865 in direct economic output.
Tioga’s capital investment created three jobs and $553,064 in direct economic output.