Aviation’s impact in Iowa tops $5.4 billion

A new report, released recently by the Iowa Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Aviation, documents how aviation is used in Iowa and concludes that air transportation is a key contributor to the state’s economy.

The report, titled “Uses and Benefits of Aviation in Iowa,” is part of a study that analyzed the economic impacts of on-airport operations; visitor spending; specialized services, such as helicopter emergency medical services and aerial spraying; and aviation-related manufacturing. It found that the annual economic impact of aviation in Iowa is estimated to exceed $5.4 billion, while supporting more than 47,000 jobs across the state. This includes $1.5 billion in output from on-airport activities and visitor spending, as well as $3.9 billion in output from off-airport aviation-related manufacturing.

Aviation activities identified in the report include commercial airline and military operations, as well as a broad range of general aviation activity, including business aviation, aerial spraying, medical transport, flight training, search and rescue, aerial survey and personal aviation.

The report concluded that when all benefits of on-airport activity, visitor spending and support for the agricultural industry are considered, the annual economic benefit from general aviation airports alone is estimated to exceed $400 million annually.

The study also examined multiple benefits the Iowa business community receives from the use of aviation services. The report estimates Iowa’s agricultural productivity is increased by $214 million as a result of aerial spraying. Additionally, the Iowa business community gains productivity through the use of aviation.

According to Michelle McEnany, director of the Iowa DOT’s Office of Aviation, the study estimated that overall business activity in Iowa is increased by $12.8 billion as a result of the use of aviation-related services.

“Everyone benefits from aviation because the industry is so integrated into every facet of the economy,” she said. “From the availability of rapid medical transport to Internet purchasing and package delivery to emergency relief and recovery efforts like we witnessed in 2008, aviation plays an important role in making Iowa a better place to live.”

Information in the report is expected to assist aviation decision makers, including local, state and federal officials, in making informed decisions related to operations and investments in Iowa’s air transportation system. Information also will be used to educate the public on the uses and benefits of aviation in Iowa, officials said.

The report and an executive summary are at IAWings.com.

For more information: DOT.Iowa.gov.

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