A new state report shows Mount Airy-Surry County Airport has reached a lofty position: No. 1 in total economic impact among general aviation airports in North Carolina.
The state has 63 airports classified as general aviation facilities, with another nine listed as commercial airports — such as Piedmont Triad International in Greensboro.
The local airport has a total economic output of $223.03 million annually, according to a detailed analysis by the Division of Aviation of the N.C. Department of Transportation.
That figure includes money resulting from firms directly engaged in the movement of people or goods through the airport. It also reflects indirect impacts of spending by airport-related firms on products and services provided by support businesses such as office-supply companies and property maintenance.
Further included in the $222 million total are induced impacts resulting from payroll expenditures of employees of indirect- and indirect-related firms that provide successive spending. Successive spending is defined as money recirculated in a market which leads to additional economic activity.
For Mount Airy-Surry County Airport, the output for the three categories of direct, indirect and induced revenues is $178.9 million, $23.6 million and $19.5 million, respectively.
“Not Obvious” To Public
John Springthorpe III, the chairman of the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport Authority — the group that oversees the facility — said it is a vital resource for officials of local businesses.
“I think that it’s not obvious to a lot of people, but we have three companies that have jets based at the airport,” Springthorpe said of Pike Electric Corp., Insteel and Renfro Corp.
This makes it easier for officials of those companies to visit their distribution and manufacturing facilities in other areas as well as enhances their ability to reach customers, he said. “It allows people to get more done in a day.”
In addition to the firms with jets at the airport, “we have other companies with smaller aircraft” hangared there, Springthorpe said. Among those are Carolina Carports, Advanced Electronic Services Inc. (AES) and Springthorpe’s own company, Southdata Inc.
“And there’s others,” he added Thursday.
About 38 planes are housed at the airport, Springthorpe said, estimating that around half of them are used regularly in business-related operations.
“It may not be obvious,” he said of the economic impact involved.
The state report shows Mount Airy-Surry County Airport is responsible for a total of 1,940 jobs, including 1,270 direct ones, and an estimated annual payroll of $41.4 million, including $29.1 million for direct positions. Another $5.4 million results from state and local taxes.
Springthorpe said the economic-impact rankings from the state Division of Aviation are released every six years. Mount Airy-Surry County Airport was “highly placed” in the last analysis in 2006, he recalled, but there was concern about whether this would be maintained in 2012 due to factors including the economic downturn.
“I was very pleased to see that,” the airport authority chairman said of the recent No. 1 ranking.
He said it highlights the airport’s presence as an economic-development entity, not a place simply for local pilots to house their pleasure craft.
“We are doing this for business reasons — we’re not doing this so guys can go out and fly on weekends.”
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.