An airport providing quality and affordable services is vital to attracting and retaining companies and talent, says Rob Peterson, director of existing industry services for the Fox Cities Chamber.
“When business travelers can fly out of a regional airport like Appleton, companies can operate here efficiently and at the fast pace they enjoy,” says Peterson, going on to say that residents are more likely to stay in a community where they can access an airport.
The numbers released during an economic impact event Thursday morning suggest Appleton International is making a difference in the air and on the ground, including $676 million in economic output, and provided a glimpse at its future. ATW also created more than 3,200 jobs, translating to $150 million in personal income and wages, says Abe Weber, airport director.
A new economic report for Green Bay’s Austin Straubel International Airport has yet to be published. In 2010, Austin Straubel provided $111.9 million in economic output, supported 738 jobs and contributed $32.4 million in wage income to the local and state economy in 2010.
Weber says the facilities at ATW allows companies to maintain headquarters here and compete in the global marketplace.
Peterson cited the airport’s recently opened U.S. Customs and Border Protection area, noting that it provides value to international companies by avoiding a stop in another city before reaching the Fox Cities.
Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelsons sees the airport as the Fox Cities’ “gateway to the globe” and our community’s “welcome mat.”
Peterson confirms the efforts have paid off, with site selectors who toured the I-41 corridor in October praising the airport’s convenience and accessibility as well as the friendliness of its staff.
Daniel Meier, manager of airports for Allegiant Air, one of three airlines that operates out of ATW, expressed gratitude to the airport for its support. “Over the eight years that we’ve been a part of Appleton, we’ve found that the support we got from the airport has allowed us to grow and be more a part of this community.”
People are willing to drive to get to the services they need from an airport like Appleton, Meier says, resulting in more dollars flowing into the local economy.
Jeremy Hansen, director of Fox Valley Technical College’s Public Safety Training Center, said his facility benefits from its partnership with the airport. The 78-acre center resides on airport property.
The college and airport are researching the feasibility of constructing an airport rescue firefighter training facility, a $15 million project funded mostly by federal money, Hansen says.
Weber says the airport’s vision for the future includes a focus on sustainability, both financial and environmental, with a commitment to achieve net zero energy usage by 2030. In addition, it will continue community partnerships like the Old Glory Honor Flight, Make a Wish Foundation and Wings for Autism.
Finally, the airport will work to enhance customer satisfaction. In the next eight months, it will break ground on a terminal modernization project, including a living wall, large interactive displays and a remodeled concessions area.