Tulsa Aviation & Aerospace Sector Highlighted in Two-Year Economic Impact Study

OKLAHOMA CITY – TULSA – The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC) recently completed the Statewide Aviation & Aerospace Economic Impact Study and the news could not be better as the industry is generating extraordinary economic activity.  Governor Mary Fallin announced the statewide findings at a public press conference on August 14 at the Oklahoma History Center.


The study shows that airports, off-airport aviation and aerospace businesses, and military aviation produce almost $44 billion in annual economic activity in Oklahoma.  “We are proud partners of this study and were expecting good results, but were really impressed seeing that the Tulsa area Aviation and Aerospace industry produces $11.7 billion in annual economic activity,” said Mayor Bynum.


In a two-part look at Oklahoma’s public airports, including civilian and military, the study measured the total economic impact of each individual airport and then combined these individual airport impacts to determine the overall economic impact of the 109 airports in the Oklahoma Airport System and state’s three Air Force bases: Altus, Tinker, and Vance.  “Many of us knew aviation was big in Oklahoma, now we know just how big it is.  This study provides the foundation for system planning and future investment in our airport system for decades to come,” OAC Director Victor Bird said.


In addition to the economic impact of the state airport system and the air force bases, the study measured the impact of off-airport aerospace businesses.  There are over 870 businesses not located on airports that are in the aviation and aerospace industry – 286 of those are located within the Tulsa MSA.  “The strong presence of the aviation and aerospace sector throughout our region reflects the commitment of our educational and legislative institutions to deliver a high-quality workforce pipeline and a business-friendly operating environment,” said Tulsa Regional Chamber President and CEO, Mike Neal.


The study also took an in-depth look at certain sectors within aviation.  The study looked at agricultural aviation, aviation education, emergency medical and healthcare supported by aviation, and the unmanned aerial systems industry.  One of the unique facets the study detailed was how many non-aviation jobs were able to improve their efficiency through their use of aviation.  The study also considers how non-aviation businesses such as Quik Trip, Kimberly-Clark, Williams, and Laredo Petroleum use aviation to be more efficient.


The annual economic impact of each airport is expressed in terms of annual jobs supported, payroll associated with these jobs, and annual economic activity or output generated by the airport.   The goal was to “put a face” on each airport so that the general public would have a better understanding of all the benefits that are supported by the day-to-day operation of Oklahoma’s public airports.  “Of all the findings released by this study, we were thrilled to see that Tulsa International had the largest impact of any civilian airport in the state,” said TUL CEO, Mark VanLoh.  “It goes to show that TUL is more than just a place to take a commercial airline flight, it’s one of the major economic contributors for Oklahoma.”


Airports will be provided with an individualized report documenting their impacts prior to a training session that will take place September 15th in Oklahoma City.  Other study documents such as the technical report, legislative district reports, and a summary report will be made available via the Commission’s website.  To make this study possible OAC received a system planning grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the amount of $245,000.  The agency was then able to match that amount with $245,000 of OAC funds and received additional financial support from the Oklahoma City Airport Trust, Tulsa Airport Improvement Trust, and the Tulsa Regional Chamber to ensure the study’s success.


For more information, contact the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission at (405) 604-6900.