The WSDOT Aviation is seeking the public’s comments from March 18th through April 7, 2011 on an Aviation Economic Impact Study with bringing commercial aviation services to Paine Field. Here is my 2 cents for what it is worth on the economic benefits of commercial airline service in Snohomish County.
Economic Benefits of Commercial Aviation at Paine Field
Strategically, having a commercial airline in Snohomish County makes a lot of sense. Airline operators would not have to look far for expertly trained service providers and/or maintenance. On the public side, residents would have easy access to airlines over traveling to other other main airports, SEA-TAC or Bellingham International Airport, which are at least an hour drive from Snohomish County. In my opinion, having an airline option so close to home would make traveling to westcoast destinations simple and pleasurable.
Increase in the availability of Aviation and Aerospace Jobs
As a strong proponent of jobs and localized economic strength, I think it is challenging to argue the benefits of bringing an abundance of aviation jobs to the County. Since the USAF Tanker Contact was announced there has been a lot of excitement regarding the 11,000 jobs coming to the area, as of January 2011 Snohomish County’s unemployment was at 10.1%, and having an additional commercial airline employment sector would only strengthen the region’s economic recovery. The increased jobs would positively impact: construction trades that focus on building and maintaining aerospace technology, check-in and customer service, security and baggage claim personnel, maintenance, fueling, air traffic control, pilots, as well as additional commerce typically associated with commercial airports.
The Abundance of Local Skilled Labor
The Boeing Company is the major employer of Snohomish County and has been for many years. So over time they have trained, crossed trained, and sent many onto higher levels of education. This gives commercial airline companies a unique advantage when hiring locally thus saving time and training costs normally associated with launching in new markets. Boeing isn’t the only one training skilled labor in Snohomish County. Throughout the county there are many machine shops and other various manufacturing companies who supply Boeing, aerospace industry, with parts and supplies for commercial airlines. I would be curious how many people are familiar with the 747, 777, 787, 767, and 737 that are either employed or not still employed with The Boeing Company.
The following is directly from the Washington State Department of Transportation’s website
Project Background and Objectives
Washington State’s airports are a key component of the state’s transportation system—a component whose functions are unique within the system. Among other contributions, airports offer degrees of accessibility to regional, national, and international spheres that are crucial for many areas of commerce.
As emphasized by the WSDOT Long-Term Air Transportation Study (LATS), the state’s aviation system faces crucial challenges. In the coming months and years, communities across the state (and policy makers in Olympia) will face important decisions that could ultimately strengthen or weaken the state’s aviation system.
To help inform these policy debates—and ensure that policy actions are taken with a full appreciation of the role airports play in our communities and state—WSDOT has commissioned the Aviation Economic Impact Study. The study will assess how the state’s aviation system impacts its economy as a whole, and the economies of the surrounding communities for each of the state’s 138 public-use airports.
In particular, the project will:
1. Identify direct, indirect, and induced economic impacts associated with operation airports.
2. Develop an online economic calculator and foundational economic datasets that will build on and be integrated with the WSDOT’s existing Aviation Information System. This dynamic tool, which will be available on WSDOT Aviation’s website, will make it possible for anyone to learn about the economic impacts and characteristics of a specific airport.
3. Assess more broadly the intrinsic value that the aviation system creates and the sectors of Washington State’s economy that rely on a robust aviation system.
4. Engage the public and stakeholders to (1) ensure that the assessment is informed by their input; and (2) to build a foundation of public and stakeholder understanding and support in addressing the aviation system’s needs and challenges.
How to Submit Public Comments
You may mail, e-mail or fax your comments to:
Mail: WSDOT Aviation, Attn: Nisha Marvel, 18204 59th Drive NE, Suite B, Arlington, WA 98223
The statewide Aviation Economic Impact Study will describe the economic benefits and impacts that the aviation system brings to the state, its communities and its wide range of users. The study will update economic data at Washington’s public use airports, and also produce an online economic calculator that will allow users to explore “what if” scenarios at individual airports. Decision makers can use this tool to explore economic development opportunities and weigh investment choices.