Minot International Airport had a $70.6 million impact on the local economy last year, according to a new study released by the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission Wednesday.
Statewide, aviation has a $1.6 billion impact on North Dakota's economy, the report showed.
"Aviation continues to be a major economic catalyst for businesses in North Dakota. We saw a 29 percent increase over the last study that was completed in 2004," said Mason Short of Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson in presenting the study results.
Airport director Andrew Solsvig speaks at a news conference Wednesday on the airport’s economic impact figures presented by Mason Short, left, with Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson.
About 5.1 percent of the state's Gross Domestic Product can be traced to aviation, he said.
In Minot, the airport is credited with supporting 732 jobs on and off the field, with a payroll of $22.8 million. The on-airport impacts total $27 million, while visitors spent $16 million in the community.
The visitor figures are under-stated because they didn't take into account the tremendous growth in activity that the airport saw, Short said.
The study estimated boardings of around 75,000 passengers for the year. Actual boardings were 90,823, a 36 percent increase over 2009. The average local spending per visitor on restaurants, hotels and other expenses was $425. The state average is $325.
The presence of MLT Vacations and a number of travel agencies also helped boost Minot's numbers in the statistics.
The study included both commercial aviation and general aviation, which includes private and corporate flights.
"You have a very vibrant presence of general aviation here," Short said. "We are definitely helping support the energy development that's going on north and west of Minot."
The airport growth is causing the citiy to look at expanding parking, adding on to the terminal, expanding the fire station and maintenance facilities and improving the taxiway and runway system, he said.
Airport director Andrew Solsvig welcomed the study findings.
"The airport is vital to the stability and growth of Minot, and we are pleased with the result," he said.
"The Department of Commerce is very excited about this report as it is such a key indicator of our economy in this state,"said Joshua Simmers, manager of aerospace business development with the North Dakota Department of Commerce. "Not only is North Dakota an aviation-friendly state but our business climate really makes a viable component for success in the state."
Carla Dolan, representing the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce, said the report shows the good things going on in Minot.
"We are very pleased with these numbers. We are just excited for what is to come," she said.
Solsvig said 2011 should be a year of growth for the airport.
"We expect a great summer of traffic," he said.
The aeronautics commission contracted with Wilbur Smith Associates to conduct the study, funded by the Federal Aviation Administration. The study found that the state's 89 airports together support 15,480 jobs with $589 million in payroll.
Off-airport aerospace manufacturing supports 4,434 jobs and produced $486.6 million in economic output in 2010. Aerial applicators in he agriculture industry create an additional 65 jobs and result in $19.3 million in economic activity. Travel agencies add 1,189 jobs and $54.3 million in economic output.
The 2004 study showed the Minot airport creating 788 jobs and generating $105 million in revenue for local businesses. Statewide, airports created 9,676 jobs and generated $845 million in revenue for businesses.