South Carolina Celebrates Aviation Week

James Stephens
James Stephens

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster declared Aug. 19-25 to be S.C. Aviation Week in a recent proclamation that also noted the importance and economic impact of the state’s six commercial airports, 60 general aviation airports, and five military airfields. Numerous events are being held throughout the week and involve both the S.C. Aviation Association and S.C. Aeronautics Commission.

James Stephens, Executive Director of the Commission, said for the past few years his desire has been for the state’s airports to open their doors, welcome the community in, and proclaim the “value” of their local airport. “This desire has been turned into a reality with the help of our partners at the South Carolina Aviation Association,” said Stephens. “The Board of Directors and staff have been great to work with, and they are great advocates for aviation here in South Carolina.”

Stephens also recognized the critical role of state legislators to the support of airports within the state and acknowledged the Federal Aviation Administration and the staff at the Atlanta Airports District Office. “This office is the portal from which comes federal grant and aid programs, and the staff there is integral to the funding and implementation of standards for our federally eligible airports,” said Stephens.

The South Carolina Aeronautics Commission recently completed an economic impact study of the state’s system of airports. The study evaluated airport management, airport tenants, Boeing, capital investments at airports, and general and commercial aviation visitor spending.  Together, the jobs supported in and through the state’s airports account for over 122,000 jobs in South Carolina.  The associated payroll is estimated to be $4.8 billion, and the spending in each of these areas is estimated at $11.5 billion, bringing the total economic impact in and through our airports to nearly $16.3 billion on the state’s economy. “This is no small impact, and as such, represents the fact that aviation is critical to the state’s economy and transportation infrastructure,” said Stephens.