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Economic Impact of Aviation in Fargo and North Dakota
March 15, 2011

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The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission is pleased to announce the results of a recent study regarding the economic impact of aviation in the state of North Dakota.

Aviation is a significant economic catalyst in North Dakota.

NDAC LogoThe study analyzed numerous segments in the aviation industry and determined aviation related activity creates nearly 15,500 jobs and produces $1.6 billion in economic activity across North Dakota.

In the executive summary, Governor Jack Dalrymple states, "We have been working hard to grow and diversify North Dakota's economy, and the state's aviation sector continues to play an important role in those efforts."

Commercial airlines in North Dakota boarded 798,965 passengers in 2010, an 11 percent increase over 2009, and general aviation aircraft conducted an estimated 673,000 operations in 2010.

The 89 airports in North Dakota created 9,792 jobs that apply to the aviation industry. Aviation employees receive $366 million in payroll, and on-airport activity generates $1.1 billion in economic output.

The study also determined the economic benefits from off-airport activity. Off-airport aerospace manufacturing supports 4,434 jobs and produces $487 million in economic output. This segment also included the economic activity generated by the growing unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry, which has an estimated impact of $27.1 million. Currently, the growing UAS industry supports 231 jobs in the state.
Click on reports below to view in their entirety
Economic Impact of Hector
International Airport
Economic Impact of Aviation
in North Dakota
North Dakota Economic Impact
of Aviation
(full report)

In addition to economic benefits, aviation in North Dakota provides a number of health, welfare and safety benefits which defy conventional measurement. Such services include medical transport and evacuation, flight training, law enforcement flights, wildlife management, military exercises and search and rescue operations.

"Whether you fly or not, aviation makes your life better in North Dakota," said Larry Taborsky, Director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission, "Thanks to aviation your packages are delivered quicker, your food grown better and delivered fresher, and your medical help is more readily available."

Local impact in Fargo

Fargo's Hector International Airport the is largest commercial service airport in the state of North Dakota, not just in airline service, but as found in this study, also had the largest economic impact in the state, accounting for 40% of North Dakota's airport related economic activity.

In addition to commercial airline service, Fargo's Hector International Airport is used for a wide variety of aeronautical operations, including business activity, air cargo, medical flights and military operations.

In 2010, Hector International set an all-time boarding's record with 363,138 passengers. This was a four percent increase over 2009, which was also a record year for the airport. Since 2005, airline passenger traffic has increased 32 percent according to NDAC records. It was estimated 40 percent of airline passengers using the airport were visitors to the Fargo region. Based upon passenger surveys collected in the study, visitor spending contributed $52.8 million to the local economy. The surveys determined that the average airline visitor to Fargo spent $335 in North Dakota.

Direct impacts from the airport totaled $198 million and included payroll, capital spending and sales generated by businesses on the airport. When multipliers of direct impacts and visitor spending were calculated, it was determined 4,001 local jobs can be attributed to economic activity generated by the airport. These jobs had an estimated payroll of $170 million and the total estimated economic impact of Fargo's Hector International Airport in 2010 was $425.1 million.

In response to this study, Shawn Dobberstein, Executive Director of Hector International stated, "We are pleased to see our economic impact on the community and surrounding region."

The significant impact of Hector International is attributed to the diverse number and size of businesses located on the field. These operations directly employ 1,369 full time employees. The NDANG, Fargo Jet Center and airlines are some of the larger employers on the field with other businesses focusing on aerospace manufacturing, aircraft parts distribution, air cargo and terminal concession operations.

Fargo's Hector International Airport is a significant local and state economic engine providing vital transportation links to the world, and good paying jobs for the region. The study was completed by Wilbur Smith Associates in partnership with Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson, Inc. and funded with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant. The detailed study utilized FAA approved methodology, regional and business sector specific multipliers (RIMS II from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis) to accurately determine total economic impact of aviation across ND.

North Dakota Aeronautics Commission Mission Statement: 'To provide at the highest priority, economic and technical assistance to insure an orderly and cost effective support system that enables the advancement of the state's aviation system.'


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