July 31, 2018
According to a recent study, approximately 532,000 visitors to South Carolina arrive each year on general aviation aircraft, which results in $527,888,320 of combined direct and indirect spending in the state, and business aviation is one of the fastest growing contributors.
The Statewide Aviation System Plan and Economic Impact Report, related by the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission, (SCAC) looked at the economic impacts associated with 51 public general aviation and six commercial airports
“For many years, aviation has been on the defensive, and many times, airport owners don’t fully understand the benefits and value of their local airport,” said James Stephens, executive director of the SCAC. “This report enables those who utilize and depend on the local airport to communicate that value within our own spheres of influence, and within the communities that own airports.
“Because airports are a critical part of the national and state infrastructure, it’s important to be able to communicate these truths,” he added. “The economic impact also enables this agency and each airport owner the opportunity to benchmark successes and failures, and this report provides a way for airports to see how they perform with respect to the nearest local airport or other comparable airports.”
South Carolina’s diversified business base helps to support growth in general aviation demand, which is projected to exceed the national average.
The report considered airports equipped to meet the needs of medium-weight business jets; 24 of the 57 South Carolina airports (42 percent) meet requirements for accommodating medium-sized jets. The report also identified additional airports in South Carolina that meet characteristics for accommodating light business jets.
When these categories are combined, 33 out of the 57 system airports (58 percent) support aircraft most frequently utilized by business operators.