MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL—The Metropolitan Airports Commission’s six general aviation, or “reliever,” airports might be small relative to Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP), but they have an outsized impact on the area economy.
 
A newly released study by InterVISTAS Consulting, LLC, indicates that, together, the six airports generate an estimated $756 million in total annual economic output for the seven-county Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The airports also support nearly 1,030 jobs directly tied to operations at the airports, producing $56 million in direct wages. Additionally, the airports generate an estimated $94 million in annual visitor spending in the metropolitan area.
 
When you add economic output indirectly related to airport operations, such as from vendors who supply goods and services to companies operating at the airport, as well as those induced by the airport (generated from direct and indirect employees spending their wages on goods and services in the community) as well as output from visitor spending, the airports support an estimated 3,660 total jobs and $164 million in total annual wages.
 
Based on 2016 data, the report notes that the reliever airports accommodate almost 900 takeoffs and landings a day – equivalent to about 80 percent of the average daily aircraft operations at MSP.
 
“The reliever airports are tremendously important to the Twin Cities’ air transportation system,” said Brian Ryks, executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which owns and operates MSP and the six reliever airports. “Not only do they relieve air traffic congestion at MSP International Airport, but also they support economic development in communities throughout the metropolitan area.”
 
Taxes paid by airport employers, employees and passengers generate $27 million for local, state and federal programs. As with MSP, operation of the MAC reliever airports is funded by rents and fees paid by users of the MAC airport system, not by income or property taxes.
 
“For many businesses, convenient access to airports is vital to connecting with customers and clients around the nation and beyond,” Ryks said. “The MAC airport system is designed to ensure the aviation needs of all parts of the metropolitan area are well served.”
 
Now in its 75th year of operation, a core purpose of the MAC in state law is to “develop the full potentialities of the metropolitan area in this state as an aviation center.” With seven airports, the MAC system is among the nation’s largest, and each airport within the system has unique characteristics designed to meet specific needs.
 
Following are the economic impacts of each reliever airport as estimated in the new study:
 
Airlake Airport (in Lakeville and Eureka Township)
Direct Jobs:                         31
Total Jobs:                           104
Total Economic Output $13.2 million
 
Anoka County-Blaine Airport
Direct Jobs:                         130
Total Jobs:                           560
Total Economic Output $118 million
 
Crystal Airport
Direct Jobs:                         100
Total Jobs:                           320
Total Economic Output $71 million
 
Flying Cloud (in Eden Prairie)
Direct Jobs:                         340
Total Jobs:                           1,190
Total Economic Output $229 million
 
Lake Elmo
Direct Jobs:                         14
Total Jobs:                           60
Total Economic Output $12.8 million
 
St. Paul Downtown
Direct Jobs:                         410
Total Jobs:                           1,430
Total Economic Output $312 million
 
To view the full report, Economic Impacts of the Reliever Airports, visit https://metroairports.org/Airport-Authority/Metropolitan-Airports-Commission/Administration/Publications.aspx