The Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive Airport contributes more than $1 million to the local economy, according to a report commissioned by the Virginia Tech Montgomery Regional Airport Authority, which operates the airport.
The airport is located on 248 acres adjacent to the university’s main campus on Research Center Drive in Blacksburg. It’s used by a wide variety of leisure and business travelers and facilitates a number of business activities, including aerial inspections, photography, surveying, agricultural spraying, career training, emergency medical aviation, and flight training. It also serves as a gateway for business and political leaders, law enforcement, public charters, recreational flying and parachuting, and search and rescue flights.
In addition to collecting funds from outside of the New River Valley Metropolitan Statistical Area (NRV) and spending those funds in the region for its operations, the airport serves as an important conduit for businesses with operations in the area. Additionally, having an airport brings travelers to the area who may not otherwise visit.
“This report highlights the commitment of local agencies to enhancing the marketability of the region to individuals and companies who are considering relocating to the New River Valley,” said Michael St. Jean, executive director of the airport authority.
An analysis of visitor survey and operational data shows that the airport facilitates $747,773 of annual spending in the NRV and results in 24 jobs with a combined annual income of $338,754. As this money circulates within the NRV economy through business and employee spending, about $275,999 in additional revenue is created.
The airport also fosters economic development by providing travel options to local, national, and international businesses, researchers, and investors, which is critical to the nearby Corporate Research Center, according to the report.
The ability for travelers to fly in and out of Blacksburg also supports the university’s research, athletics, and community relations goals.
The recently completed construction of a new hangar and the ongoing construction of a longer runway are expected to bring $24.1 million into the local economy between 2016 and 2018. Of that total, $17 million will come through direct revenue while the other $7 million is expected to come indirectly, though the creation of 80 new jobs, 22 of which will be sustained over the three-year period.
— Submitted by Laura Neff-Henderson