By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s 34 airports generate more than $2 billion in economic activity each year, according to a Wyoming Department of Transportation study.
The department’s 2020 review of the economic impact of Wyoming’s airports, the first conducted since 2013, also showed that the airports generate $87.7 million per year in state and local tax revenues.
The study bases its measurement of economic activity on the payroll paid employees of airports and related businesses and those arriving at or leaving from the airports and the annual spending by airports, related businesses and passengers.
It is based on figures from late 2019 and early 2020, before the coronavirus led to travel restrictions. The study was released to the public this week.
The study found that since 2013, the amount of annual economic activity linked to airports around the state has grown by about $600 million.
Some airports around the state saw “notable growth” between 2013 and 2020, while others experienced “relative declines,” the study said.
“Airports that experienced notable changes in their economic impacts generally either gained or lost one or more aviation-related business tenant, had higher or lower average annual capital investment for improvements, or had increases or decreases in their number of annual visitors,” it said.
The largest share of the economic impact from Wyoming’s airports came from visitors to the state’s nine commercial airports, defined as publicly owned airports that receive scheduled passenger service and at least 2,500 passenger boardings per year.
The study said visitors to the airports in Casper, Cheyenne, Cody, Gillette, Jackson, Laramie, Riverton, Rock Springs and Sheridan spend almost $543.8 million per year and generate $1.2 billion in economic activity.
The airport seeing the most visitors by far was the Jackson Hole Airport with 397,468 visitors per year, followed by Natrona County International Airport with 42,162.
The Jackson Hole Airport was also the airport with the biggest share of economic activity by all sectors at $1.3 billion. The Cheyenne Regional Airport was second at total economic impact of $205 million.