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Impact of Bemidji Regional Airport exceeds $27 million

The total economic impact of Bemidji Regional Airport for 2009 is $27.88 million, according to a University of Minnesota study.

The activity also led to 446 jobs county-wide for the year, the study said.

The report was given to Bemidji Regional Airport Authority members earlier this month by Airport Authority Executive Director Harold Van Leeuwen, based on information he gave researchers.

"Economic impact is not revenue or profit, it is a measure of the change or additional money and jobs that have been created as a result of the current economic activity taking place at the airport," the study noted.

Known as the "multiplier effect,"

The report noted the economic impact of airport ownership, of the fixed-based operator and other aviation businesses, of commercial scheduled air service and of retail business.

"Multipliers summarize and consist of direct, indirect and induced effects," said the report. "Regarding your airport, a direct effect is the change in production of goods and/or services by an organization or business that would not have occurred if it were not for the existence of the airport."

Indirect effects describe the changes in production by businesses that provide inputs to the directly affected airport industries or businesses, it said.

The report, conducted by the Department of Applied Economics and North Central Research and Outreach Center of the U of M, said the economic impact resulting from public ownership of the airport is $3.25 million. The activity created a total of 49 full- and part-time jobs in the county.

"The economic impact is based on public ownership outlays of $651,678 and reported capital improvement expenditures of $1.46 million," the report said.

The economic impact due to the fixed-based operator, Bemidji Aviation, is $16.25 million, which has created an estimated 178 jobs, it said. "These estimates are based on one fixed-based operator using the airport with a total of 18 full-time employees, no full-time seasonal employees and five part-time annual employees. The estimate is also based on a total of 30 planes that the FBO operates out of your airport own or lease."

The economic impact of commercial scheduled air service is $3.15 million, which supports 81 jobs, the report said. "This economic impact estimate is based on 21,000 enplanements with 25 percent of those enplanements due to non-resident visitation.

"It is also based on the commercial scheduled carrier [Delta] employing five full-time employees with 10 Transportation Safety Administration employees operating out of the airport," the report added.

The economic impact of retail businesses operating on the airport property is $1 million, which supports 33 jobs, it said. The figure was based on one retail business which employs four people.

The report also said the economic impact of overnight use by general aviation pilots and other visitors was $1.89 million, which supports 45 jobs. It's based on a total of 3,900 visitors to the area.

The economic impact of business use of the airport is $508,741, which supports 15 jobs. The estimate is based on two businesses that use the airport to ship freight and one business that maintains its own hanger at the airport.

Finally, the economic impact of non-profit or government entities at the airport is $1.76 million, which supports 45 jobs. It is based on two non-profits or government entities using the airport with three full-time employees and 25 seasonal part-time employees. Also, a total of four planes are owned or leased by the non-profits or government entities.

Minnesota has eight airports that handle commercial air service, five airports with paved runways with seaplane bases, and 100 paved airports.

Minnesota's airports contributed more than $12.1 billion to the state's economy in 2009, while providing nearly 165,000 jobs that produced more than $6.4 billion in labor income, according to the state Department of Transportation.