MidAmerica St. Louis Airport (BLV), a commercial service airport located in St. Clair County, Illinois, shared the findings of a recent study that reveals the airport is now a $3.1 billion economic engine for the bi-state St. Louis region. The airport is a joint use military/civilian facility including MidAmerica St. Louis Airport and Scott Air Force Base (SAFB) and is operated/governed by the St. Clair County Public Building Commission. In addition to significant air carrier activity, BLV sees regular usage for corporate/business, military, air cargo operations, aerospace manufacturing, and aerospace technology research.
The $3.1 billion in total economic impact is up from $2.5 billion in 2012 and represents the sum of on-airport activity generated by the airport management and administration and airport tenants, as well as on-airport construction. Conducted by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the study highlights the factors contributing to the airport’s growing economic impact locally, while also spotlighting the economic impact of the aviation sector in IDOT Region 5 (districts 8 & 9) and the total impact statewide.
“The results of this latest study reveal that MidAmerica Airport is one of the fastest growing commercial service airports in the state,” said St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern. “With the continuation of our joint use agreement with Scott Air Force Base, our steadily increasing passenger traffic and the expansion underway by Boeing, we fully expect that growth to continue.”
According to the latest report, MidAmerica Airport remains a major employer in the St. Louis and Metro East areas, providing a total of 23,442 full-time and part-time jobs to the region between airport and SAFB operations, airport tenants and construction workers on the airport property. With a workforce of this magnitude, the airport generated a total of $1.9 billion in labor income (total employment compensation, including benefits) in 2019.
MidAmerica also saw a substantial amount of revenue generated from visitors from out of state travelling to Illinois for business or personal reasons in 2019. Citing the amount those out-of-state visitors spent on things like accommodations, local ground transportation, retail and entertainment, MidAmerica saw visitor spending reach a total of $31.4 million.
Another key metric relates to the economic productivity of each aviation related business establishment connected to the airport — calculated as business revenue earned minus the cost of purchasing goods and services from other businesses. That metric known as “added value” topped $2.2 million in 2019.
BLV is one of two commercial service airports and 14 general aviation airports welcoming visitors to Region 5 of Illinois, the state’s southernmost region. Region 5 is home to several popular tourist destinations, such as Shawnee National Forest, Giant City Sate Park, Garden of the Gods Recreation Area and the St. Louis metropolitan area. In 2019, airports in Region 5 generated 28,595 jobs, $2.1 billion in labor income and $2.6 billion in value added for a total regional economic impact of $6.1 billion. Combined with the state’s other four regions, forming a network of over 80 airports in Illinois, the study determined that Illinois’s airports generated 492,186 jobs and contributed $95.4 billion to the state’s economy in 2019.
“MidAmerica Airport acts as a gateway for business and recreational visitors to the St. Louis metropolitan area and provides an affordable, hassle-free option for residents throughout our region to fly directly to a dozen popular destinations,” said MidAmerica Airport Director Bryan Johnson. “2021 has been a remarkable year and can’t wait to see what 2022 brings our way.”
Destinations currently served by Allegiant from MidAmerica include Charleston, Daytona Beach, Destin/Ft. Walton Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix/Mesa, Ft. Myers/Punta Gorda, Sarasota/Bradenton, Savannah, and Tampa Bay/St. Pete.