Fort Collins-Loveland airport 9th in economic impact statewide

The Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport ranks ninth in the state, with an economic output of $129.4 million, according to a new study by the state.

The study, commissioned by the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics, examined 14 airports that provide commercial and general aviation services.

Conducted by Colorado aviation consulting firms ICF International Inc., Jviation Inc. and KRAMER aerotek inc., the study indicates the Fort Collins-Loveland airport supports 826 employees with an estimated $24.8 million in total payroll.

“When people ask, ‘What’s the return on our investment?’ this gives us a valuable tool to essentially show them what the money being put into the airport is actually producing,” airport director Jason Licon said.

The consultants looked at employment and spending generated by businesses surrounding the airport that have planes as well as airport administration, tenants and businesses, and construction jobs from airport improvement projects.

Of 14 airports with commercial service examined, the airport ranked above its counterparts in Telluride, $78.5 million; Pueblo, $85 million; Gunnison, $98.5 million in terms of economic impact. It ranked below airports in Montrose, $221 million; Hayden, $299.3 million; Durango, $282.3 million; Aspen, $841 million; and others.

Altogether, the state’s 76 commercial and general aviation airports created 265,700 jobs statewide with a payroll of $12.6 billion annually. They had a total economic output of $36.7 billion.

“Regardless of size, these airports are all important to their communities,´ said David Gordon, the transportation department’s Aeronautics Division director. “When the numbers are combined, the impacts are significant.”

The largest was Denver International Airport, which had a payroll of more than $8.5 billion annually and generated a total economic output of more than $26 billion annually. The Colorado Springs Municipal Airport had a total payroll of $1.75 billion and a total economic output of nearly $3.7 billion annually.

The data for the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport spans 2009 to 2012, Gordon said. The study did not review data for 2013, the year following the October 2012 departure of the airport’s sole carrier, Allegiant Air.

“The loss of Allegiant is something that we take very seriously,” Gordon said. “The Division of Aeronautics is working with the airport and the two cities to see what we can do to help get commercial service back there.”

Despite the loss of Allegiant, the airport is staying busy with general aviation traffic, private charter flights, medical emergency flights, flood relief and other activity, Licon said.

“The list goes on and on,” he said.

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