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UC Regional Airport Responsible For $19.7 Million Impact

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
UC Regional Airport Responsible For $19.7 Million Impact

The Upper Cumberland Regional Airport is responsible for $19.7 million in direct economic impact to local economies.

That is according to a survey commissioned by T-DOT Aeronautics. Airport Manager Dean Selby said this growth has been building for years by cold calling and visiting conventions to put the airport on the radar.

“All the jobs and everything that’s created because the airport is here,” Selby said. “The freight and personnel that we move. This also includes the factories that say they can’t be here if they don’t have the airport. The economic impact that we help with them, so that’s a tremendous amount.”

Selby said the impact covers hotels, car rentals and services used at the airport. He said the impact should continue if the 10 to 15 percent growth at the airport continues.

“One thing that some people don’t realize is that the aircraft, especially the jets have gotten more and more fuel efficient,” Selby said. “If you see a 15 percent increase, that’s not just a 15 percent increase in traffic. That’s more like 30-40 percent increase in traffic because they’re not burning the amount of fuel they were burning 30 years ago. Now, they’re getting better mileage, so you’re having to see more of an increase to flow the same number of gallons.”

Selby said the airport and surrounding communities share a role in the growth.

“I’ve equated the airspace system to an interstate highway system, and unless a local area has an exit that’s capable of handling that traffic off of that system, then you don’t have access to it,” Selby said. “It would be like Cookeville having the interstate going through there but not having exits to get there. Having that airport is an exit off of the National Airspace System to get those people into this area.”

Selby said with over 600 jet operations in 2019, it made the Upper Cumberland Regional Airport a top 10 general aviation airport in Tennessee. This survey is based on 2019 data. However, Selby said 2020 saw an increase in fuel sales and airport traffic.


The post UC Regional Airport Responsible For $19.7 Million Impact appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.