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Alaska's 2011 Airport and Aviation report shows growth in the industry

February 8, 2012, 10:58 am

The Alaska Airports and Aviation 2011 Annual Report was recently released, showing 47,000 jobs, or 10 percent of all jobs in the state, are from the aviation industry. The report found aviation has added $3.5 billion to the state's economy, and has made 82 percent of all Alaskan communities accessible by air. Alaska currently has the largest state aviation system in North America, housing 254 airports.

The report was released by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and summarized the many programs and incentives that contributed to Alaska's booming aviation system, as well as future projects on the horizon. In 2012, 18 airport improvement projects costing more than $100 million will be launched, as well as several safety and education initiatives. These informative programs will not only raise awareness about industry innovations, but also engage students in aviation programs and help turn Alaska into an aviation capital, the Alaska Dispatch reported. One topic likely to be touched on is the importance of pilot insurance to safeguard against unexpected problems in the sky.

The Department of Transportation is working with state policymakers to push ambitious improvement projects for airports and other facilities in 2012. The DOT has already allocated $230 million for airport improvements in the next 12 months, with $11.7 million of that coming from Alaska's general fund, the source reported.

The most expensive project on the list is the completion of the Akutan airport, expected to be fully operational by the fall costing $64 million. Upgrades to the Kotzebue Airport will total $20 million, and a second phase of innovations to the facility will likely cost another $22 million and start in 2013, the source reported.

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