A new study by the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities on the economic impacts of Alaska’s airports shows the aviation industry contributes 47,000 jobs and $3.5 billion to the state economy, and Juneau International Airport sees a significant part of that action.
The 2011 Economic and Community Contributions of Selected Alaska Airports by Northern Economics Inc. studies the economic and community significance of 12 airports across Alaska, including Juneau’s.
Juneau’s city-owned airport is the primary link between Juneau and the rest of Alaska and a vital transportation hub for Southeast Alaska.
The study estimates in 2009 “the airport provided approximately 980 direct employment jobs and a total of 1,240 jobs when indirect and induced jobs are added to the direct total.” These jobs are estimated to have generated $44 million in wages and benefits to job holders that year.
The airport also generated $139 million in total aviation expenditures in 2009. Airline passengers spent an estimated $118.6 million — the estimate does not include money passengers spent while in Juneau, baggage fees and associated services. Mail delivery totaled $7.3 million and cargo brought in $13.8 million.
Juneau’s airport also serves as a vital link for many of Juneau’s businesses and state government.
Employees, company officials, contractors, vendors and governmental regulators traveling to and from Greens Creek account for thousands of Juneau airport visits each year.
“Without the airport, many emergency and time-sensitive freight orders for critical replacement parts could not be facilitated,” said Ron Plantz, Human Resource & Community Relations Manager at Hecla Greens Creek Mining Company.
Lower 48 markets and restaurants can offer fresh wild Alaskan salmon thanks to the proximity of the airport to fishing grounds.
“The Juneau airport is very important not just for big marketers, but also self marketers, that export high quality seafood,” Mark Vinsel, Executive Director of United Fishermen of Alaska.
Juneau’s airport “is instrumental for our niche market business,” said Len Peterson, Secretary Treasurer of Taku Renewable Resources Inc., which does business as Taku River Reds. “Without it we wouldn’t even exist as a company. Most of our sales are weekly orders. Our fish gets from here to where it needs to be in a day or so, out of the water to fish markets in 36 hours. Without the airport that would be impossible.”
Alaska Airlines is the Juneau airport’s only major commercial airline, with local air carriers Wings of Alaska and Alaska Seaplane Service. Flights to Seattle accounted for 31 percent of a total of 663,000 passenger segments. Anchorage trips accounted for 28 percent, Sitka 16 percent.
Almost 10 million pounds of total airmail were transported to and through Juneau in 2009. Other cargo totaled 31 million pounds in 2009.
The Department of Transportation & Public Facilities oversees 254 airports in Alaska.
For more information visit www.alaskaasp.com.
• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at email@example.com.