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City of DeKalb News

Posted on: December 16, 2021

DeKalb Airport Creates $22M in Economic Impact

An airplane in front of the main hangar at DeKalb Airport

A new statewide study shows DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport is an economic engine in DeKalb County that produced $22 million in economic impact in 2019.

The Illinois Aviation Impact Study completed by the Illinois Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division was done to provide a comprehensive assessment on the role and benefits of Illinois’ airports.

DeKalb Airport’s $22 million impact in 2019 came from two areas: on-airport activity and visitor spending. 

The study found that activities happening at the airport, such as operations, spending by airport tenants and construction had a $15.6 million economic impact. Another $6.4 million came from out-of-state visitors bringing new money into the economy through spending on lodging, retail, restaurants, entertainment, and local transportation.

Airport Manager Renee Riani said the numbers show the economic impact to DeKalb County goes far beyond airport fuel sales.

“DeKalb Airport is a vital component in the National Air Transportation Network. Corporations and businesses capitalize on the convenience of our safe, well-equipped airfield for their corporate or chartered aircraft to utilize when they need to connect with clients or vendors. When their aircraft land at DeKalb, the City and region benefit from car rentals or car services and gasoline sales. They often arrange overnight accommodations in local hotels and purchase food at eating establishments or groceries. Monies are also spent in myriad retail stores and entertainment venues,” said Riani. “Beyond those direct impacts is the potential for increased growth in the region as passengers meet face-to-face within agricultural, collegiate, retail, manufacturing, transportation, real estate, healthcare or numerous other areas of business.”

Part of the economic impact is jobs. DeKalb Airport supported the creation of 148 jobs earning $6.5 million in 2019, according to the study. Along with airport-related jobs, Riani said the airport helps attract new businesses to DeKalb County.

“When companies such as Target Corporation, Facebook and Culver’s sought to establish new facilities, DeKalb Airport helped to solidify their decision to locate in DeKalb over a region without such sound infrastructure,” said Riani. “With a newly resurfaced northeast-southwest 7,026’ long and 100’ wide runway that offers a precision instrument approach for times of inclement weather, corporate pilots are confident in accomplishing safe take-offs and landings. Our ability to accommodate their flight departments’ operational safety requirements makes DeKalb Airport a prime destination in the region and will continue to be a factor in attracting future development.”

DeKalb Airport also supports aviation-related businesses. The airport’s overall economic impact includes $9.7 million in value added by these businesses through factors such as labor compensation and taxes.

Statewide, the study found that the 85 public-use airports analyzed in Illinois had a total economic impact of $95.5 billion and supported 492,768 jobs earning $32.5 billion in income.

Data sources for the study included I-DOT, the FAA and surveys of airport managers, tenants and visitors. The study used data collected for Calendar Year 2019. For that reason, the study largely does not incorporate any impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

More information on the Illinois Aviation Impact Study can be found at ilaviation.com.

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