RKS Pumps Millions into Local Economy

Feb. 18, 2021

Results of a recent economic impact study show that the Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport supports 324 jobs and generates $36.9 million of economic activity for the state and local economy, confirming the importance of the airport as an economic engine and its positive impact on Southwest Wyoming.

Conducted by the Wyoming Department of Transportation, to update a similar 2013 report, the Statewide Economic Impact Study determined that the economic activity generated and supported by aviation in Wyoming increased from $1.4 billion in 2013 to $2.0 billion in 2020. Aviation in Wyoming supports 9.5 percent of statewide employment resulting in nearly 27,600 jobs.

The Statewide Economic Impact Study took a deep dive into the impacts of aviation and airports across the state with a focus on the state’s 34 airports with paved runways. The value of airports, including that of Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport continues to grow:

“Each day airport, airline and tenant staff dedicate themselves to operating a safe and secure airport. Their efforts don’t stop at safety and security though. Their dedication drives economic value into every corner of our region; supporting visitor spending and driving job creation that provides the oxygen for our economy,” said Jim Wamsley, airport board chairman.

To recognize the important role that aviation plays in attracting and maintaining economic vitality, the report measures the total economic impact of both the airport and its users. The report describes the direct impact from the airport, its businesses and visitors’ spending, and subsequent multiplier effects on businesses that hire employees and purchase goods from other businesses and from employees who spend their earnings locally. The report’s data was based on extensive airport, business, and visitor surveys.

“We are very happy with the numbers in this new report,” says Devon Brubaker, airport director. “The study reflects a significant growth in impact since 2013, affirming the fact that our airport is a powerful economic engine that fuels our local economy. While our focus is facilitating the safe and secure movement of passengers and cargo each day, we actively engage with public and private partners to bring even greater economic prosperity to Southwest Wyoming.”

The WYDOT study also took a deep dive into the economic value of commercial air service investments made by the State, County and Cities in Sweetwater County. For every dollar invested in commercial air service since the inception of the WYDOT Air Service Enhancement Program in Sweetwater County, it resulted in $4.60 economic output.

While commercial airline service is the most publicly visible aviation activity occurring at RKS, the airport plays host to thousands of general aviation flights providing medical, cargo, aerial firefighting, wildland and wildlife management, and corporate aviation services. Together, these services impact each and every resident, business and industry in the region.