Airports in West Virginia contribute more than $1.6 billion to the state’s economy and support more than 10,700 jobs with a payroll of $550 million, according to the West Virginia Aeronautics Commission’s 2020 West Virginia Aviation Economic Impact Study, which looked at commercial and general aviation airports.
The study looked at direct and multiplier impacts from on-airport activity, visitor spending, and air cargo activity. While the COVID-19 pandemic impacted each of the 24 study airports in some way, the diversity of business and recreation opportunities in the state will help West Virginia’s aviation industry recovery, the study reported.
“Given West Virginia’s beautiful yet challenging topography, airports play a vital role in the state’s connectivity and economy. Over 10,000 well-paying jobs can be attributed to this airport system,” said Gregory Voos, CAM, Southeastern regional representative for the National Business Aviation Association.
The study concluded that West Virginia’s airports are important economic anchors that serve as job centers supporting several industries in the state, including aerospace, tourism, mining, agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare.
“Collectively, the operation of airports and spending by visitors arriving in West Virginia via our airports generate significant economic activity,” the study noted. “It is important to recognize that the value of West Virginia’s airports extends far beyond their monetary impact, as they support an enhanced quality of life for residents and visitors alike, providing critical operations such as emergency medical evacuation, package delivery, law enforcement and aerial firefighting.”
“The purpose of the study is to take the first look in over 30 years at the economic impact of our airports,” said Aeronautics Commission Director Sean Hill. “The idea is to get a baseline to understand what the airports mean to our economy.”