Gaylord Regional Airport packs an economic punch despite small staff, budget
GAYLORD — Although it has only six employees and a $1.1 million budget, the economic impact from the Gaylord Regional Airport is over $4 million annually according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.
The airport is owned and operated by Otsego County and is licensed by the Michigan Aeronautics Commission as a general utility airport. Shari Rivest, who serves as airport director, recently presented a report on the airport to the county board of commissioners.
"We are a general aviation airport and we have an operational budget of $1.1 million. The airport sits on over 800 acres (about a mile from downtown Gaylord at 1100 Aero Drive) and there is 1.3 million square feet of runway space that has to be plowed every time it snows," Rivest said.
The airport caters to all kinds of aviation enthusiasts including "people scouting for new locations for a second office or store," said Rivest.
The airport also serves as a transportation outlet for two major package delivery companies, FedEx and UPS.
"Last year, (FedEx) did over 565,000 pounds of freight while UPS did over 410,00 pounds of freight at the airport," said Rivest.
In 2022, Guardian Flight activated a new emergency air medical transport service and base at the airport to provide air medical transport services to communities in the northern Lower Peninsula and surrounding areas.
"They did about 305 runs transporting patients in and out of Gaylord for medical care," noted Rivest.
Aviation fuel sales represent an important revenue source for the airport according to Rivest. Last year fuel sales brought in about $1.4 million.
"Like everything else the cost of aviation fuel has gone up," she said.
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Rivest said people from all over the state will fly into the airport to see family and check out the attractions in Gaylord.
Commercial passenger air service is unlikely to occur at the airport because it is located near already existing passenger service in Traverse City and Pellston said Rivest.
— Contact Paul Welitzkin at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on The Petoskey News-Review: Gaylord airport packs an economic punch despite small staff, budget