RED WING, Minn. — A new study by the Minnesota Department of Transportation looked at the economic impact that Minnesota airports had on the state and smaller communities in 2018 and 2019.

The MnDOT study looked at 126 of Minnesota’s 133 public airports. The seven run by the Metropolitan Airports Commission were not included.

Annually, 5.4 million people arrive in Minnesota by plane, which results in an $18.2 billion impact on Minnesota communities each year.

The Red Wing Regional Airport’s annual economic activity is $18.6 million.

“The Red Wing Airport is a vital part of our community," said Red Wing City Council President Dean Hove, who also serves as the council liaison to the airport board. "It not only impacts the local economy, but also increases citizen access to emergency medical services.”

The use of the airport was broken down into five categories to show how it is frequently employed:

  • Businesses: Red Wing Shoes, Red Wing Software, Rockland Flooring and Plaas Incorporated are four of the main non-aviation companies that use the airport.

  • Recreation: Treasure Island Resort and Casino is highlighted by the study because it brings in internationally known entertainment, hosts numerous events and visitors support area jobs. Finally, the casino orders and has supplies shipped to the business.

  • Aerial inspections/power line patrols: The report authors write: “Airports throughout Minnesota help support various types of aerial inspections (that) includes monitoring of power lines. Aerial patrols are the most effective way to conduct inspections, and are much more efficient and cost effective than ground surveys.” Xcel Energy and Dairyland Power both use the airport for aerial inspections.

  • Health care/medical support: Mayo One, a Mayo clinic air ambulance, often uses the airport for patient transportation.

  • Education/charter operations: Blue Links LLC and Red Wing Aviation are both based at the airport. These companies have training facilities and flight simulators and provide charter and maintenance services while conducting over 500 operations monthly worldwide.

“The strength of the Red Wing Regional Airport is positioning our economy for future growth," Hove concluded. "It will be an important part of our continued prosperity.”

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