Willow Run Airport responsible for $123 million annual economic impact in southeast Michigan, according to UM-Dearborn and WCAA study

Photo courtesy of the Wayne County Airport Authority.

Willow Run Airpot in Ypsilanti, MI . Photo courtesy of the Wayne County Airport Authority.

By Scott Bolthouse
Hub Editor In Chief

Willow Run Airport generates more than 950 jobs and $123 million in total economic impact throughout Michigan, according to a 2014 study released on March 31 by the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA).

The study also found that Willow Run supports Detroit Metropolitan Airport’s $10.2 billion in economic impact.

The findings were revealed Tuesday at a press conference held at Willow Run Airport and were presented by Lee Redding, associate professor of business economics at UM-Dearborn, Tim Davis, director of iLabs, UM-Dearborn’s center for innovation research and Thomas Naughton, chief executive officer, WCAA.

Also present were Christopher Mullin, director, Willow Run Airport and Joseph Nardone, director of development, WCAA.

Redding, working with researchers from iLabs, estimated how Willow Run impacts the economies of Michigan and the Southeastern Michigan Air Trade Area by measuring revenues, incomes and jobs.

“The cargo capacity available at Willow Run makes Michigan a more attractive place for business,” Redding said in a press release. “Willow Run Airport connects Michigan manufacturing companies to the world, making quick deliveries of parts and finished products more viable.”


Photo courtesy WCAA.

Research found that Willow Run provides area residents and business with access to convenient and efficient cargo shipment, with 54.4 million pounds of air cargo departing from the airport annually. This represents about $2 billion annually in goods, according to the study.

The facilities, workers, and business operating at Willow Run are responsible for an economic impact of $123 millions annually, adding $40 million to area incomes.

While passenger travel is limited at Willow Run, visitors still created an economic impact of $2.1 million, supporting $600,o00 in local incomes.

The study also found that General Aviation and Education contributes $18.7 million and $3.1 million to the overall economic impact of Willow Run.

The airport is actively preparing for it’s future, working on capital improvement projects aimed at the airport remaining a vital component to the area’s economy for years to come.

Research shows that the mutual relationship between Willow Run and Detroit-Metro is of key economic value. While Detroit-Metro is the prime venue for passenger travel, Willow Run specializes in cargo transportation.

“It’s clear that Willow Run Airport provides substantial economic benefits for our region,” said Airport Authority CEO Thomas Naughton. “Additionally, by capturing a considerable amount of the region’s cargo and general aviation air traffic, it helps Detroit Metropolitan Airport provide on-time flights.”


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