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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane airports have $791 million direct impact yearly, study finds

A rock and water feature greets traffic heading to Spokane International Airport. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane International Airport, along with the Airport Business Park and Felts Field, generates $791 million in direct economic impact a year, according to a new analysis commissioned by Spokane International Airport.

Those numbers were reached during a detailed look at airport-based jobs, visitors and businesses that feed into the economy of Spokane and Kootenai counties.

Spokane International Airport accounts for the majority of the activity, an estimated $620.5 million annually. Results are based on 2013 data.

The business park added another $113 million, while Felts Field contributed $57.5 million directly to the local economy.

That compares with $691 million in direct economic impact involving the airports in a previous study using 2008 data.

The research was undertaken by Eastern Washington University’s Institute for Public Policy & Economic Analysis and economics faculty.

A separate series of passenger interviews found that about half of all passengers leaving from the airport had come to the Spokane region as visitors.

They spent an estimated $246 million during their trips, or an average of $436 per person, according to the study. The money went, in order, to lodging, food and drink, and transportation along with lesser amounts for shopping and recreation.

The study did not account for additional activity generated during the peak holiday travel from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.

Businesses at Spokane International Airport and Felts Field accounted for another $234 million in economic activity, including spending for improvements at the airport.

The study additionally broke down consumer spending by calculating the spinoff effect of wages, investments and visitor trips.

Researchers found the spinoff effect caused by spending of employees and businesses accounted for $753 million in economic activity. The money went to housing, banking, fuel purchases, food and drink, wholesale trade, health care, insurance and other services, in that order.

Patrick Jones, executive director for the public policy institute, said the airport is valuable economically because of its ability to stimulate and support high-level manufacturing and tourism.

Larry Krauter, airports CEO, said one of the goals is to increase the number of aviation businesses at the business park and Felts Field.

He said Felts Field has a relatively large group of aviation-related businesses for a small general aviation airport. The study showed that Felts Field supports 295 jobs.

In comparison, Spokane International Airport supported 4,598 jobs. The study also showed that the business park was responsible for 1,025 jobs.

Krauter said aerospace recruitment is one of the chief goals at the airport.

Tax collections were also measured. The airport, business park and Felts Field generated $197 million in local, state and federal taxes in 2013.

Wellesley repaving

Repaving work on Wellesley Avenue east of Market Street will result in a road closure from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today through Thursday between Market and Freya Avenue.

The project involves grinding down old pavement and laying new pavement.

Study looks at roads

A new study by TRIP, a national transportation research group, found that 22 percent of Washington’s rural roads are in poor condition.

That puts Washington at 14th among states for having the worst rural roads. Idaho came in fourth with 31 percent of its rural roads in poor condition.

Michigan led the list with 37 percent of its rural roads in poor condition.