Impact of aviation on Wisconsin’s economy

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(WKOW) — Airports do more than just move people and goods from place to place.  Wisconsin’s airports provide an economic benefit to the state.

The Wisconsin State Airport System is a network of airports, which includes commercial service and general aviation airports and links Wisconsin residents and businesses to the rest of the nation and the world.

“General aviation is all the smaller private planes. It also encompasses business jets, crop-dusting.  It might be law enforcement.  It can be air ambulance.  It can be cargo operations.  It can be any number of different things,” said Jeff Baum the president of Wisconsin Aviation.

Wisconsin’s airports accommodate over 5 million passengers and move more than 100 million pounds of cargo a year.  Communities with airports really see an economic boost.

“At our airport at Watertown, smaller much smaller airport, we know that over 15,000 people a year go through that airport into Watertown. They’re doing business in Watertown. The economic impact of that has to be significant,” Baum said.

The aviation industry as a whole makes a significant impact on the state, supporting about 90,000 jobs.

“And there are other jobs in airfield maintenance, airport operations, the list goes on and on. And there’s a need for people in aviation,” said Baum.

Airports provide facilities for corporate travel, pilot training and pleasure flyers, and are vital for the state’s businesses and industries to remain competitive.

“I think if you didn’t have aviation in Wisconsin you’d see a lot of towns just dry up because if you don’t have access to the city, you can’t do business there. And if companies…if it’s very hard to get places or have people get to you, you’re not going to locate there,” said Baum.

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