Colorado Airport System Yields Big Business

October 10, 2013 - Statewide Transportation Plan - DENVER, COLORADO – An economic impact study recently released by the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) Division of Aeronautics has shown that the state’s commercial and general aviation airports are a major economic generator for the state.

According to the study, which was conducted by Colorado aviation consulting firms ICF SH&E, Jviation, and Kramer Aerotek, Inc., Colorado airports create the following economic impacts:

  • 265,700 jobs statewide
  • Payroll of $12.6 billion annually
  • Total economic output of $36.7 billion

Those numbers put Colorado’s airports among the state’s top economic generators along with the agriculture, tourism, energy, high tech, and communications sectors.

“Those numbers are significant for Colorado,” noted CDOT Aeronautics Division Director David Gordon.

The 2013 study examined all phases of airport spending and economic multipliers to calculate economic impact, including airport administration and employment, airport tenants, airport capital investment, visitor spending, air cargo, tax revenues, and directly-related off-airport employment.

“Airports and aviation are big business for Colorado,” noted CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt.  “Over the years, CDOT has been proud to be a partner with many of these airports through our Aeronautics Division’s discretionary aviation grant program to support their efforts to upgrade their infrastructure, produce long-range plans, and help them purchase equipment needed to run efficient operations.  It is great to see that they are playing such an important role in their local communities and, in combination with their fellow airports, for the state of Colorado, as well.”

A significant amount of the economic activity is generated by Colorado’s 14 commercial airline service airports.  The largest is Denver International Airport, which has a payroll of more than $8.5 billion annually and which generates a total economic output of more than $26 billion each year.  Colorado Springs Municipal Airport has a total payroll of $1.75 billion and a total economic output of nearly $3.7 billion annually.

The study also clearly shows the economic impact of the state’s general aviation airports, which range in size from Centennial and Rocky Mountain Metropolitan airports, both located in the Denver area, to individual community airports in all parts of the state.  Total economic output at these airports ranges from $1.3 billion at Centennial Airport to several thousand dollars at smaller rural airports.   Some of these smaller airports, such as Hopkins Field at Nucla in western Montrose County and Springfield Municipal Airport in far southeastern Colorado, are large economic generators.  Hopkins Field employs nine people and has a total economic output approaching $1 million per year; Springfield Municipal Airport employs eight and its total economic output exceeds $1 million annually.

“Regardless of size, these airports are all important to their communities.  When the numbers are combined, the impacts are significant,” Gordon noted.

For an economic picture of all 76 of Colorado’s public use airports and their impacts on Colorado, you can visit a reader-friendly version of the economic study by logging onto and clicking on the 2013 Economic Impact Study link in the Quick Links list to the left.