OAC (PLATINUM SPONSOR)
The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission is the state agency charged with promoting aviation in the state, which includes ensuring the needs of commerce and communities across the state are met by the state’s 110 public airports that comprise the Oklahoma Airport System, and ensuring the viability of the state’s aerospace industry.
Aviation has a rich legacy in Oklahoma that has resulted in it being one of the pillars of our economy today. The Sooner State has yielded more astronauts per capita than any other state, including Gordon Cooper and Tom Stafford. Two of the first commercial airlines, Braniff and Southwest Air Fast Express, were formed here. Those companies became part of American Airways which later became American Airlines. Wiley Post twice set the record for flying around the world and discovered the jet stream. Business aviation (business using non-commercial, general aviation aircraft for transportation) originated here with oilmen such as Frank Phillips, Earl Halliburton, and William “Bill” Skelly. Oklahoma’s strong military aviation presence can be traced all the way back to the early 1900s when the United States conducted experiments at Fort Sill to develop artillery fire from the air. Douglas Aircraft built plants in Tulsa and Oklahoma City in support of World War II aviation needs. The plant in Oklahoma City became Tinker Air Force Base.
Oklahoma has 110 public airports; 107 of those public airports are general aviation (GA) airports and 49 of those 110 are also Regional Business airports (RBs, 46 of which are GA airports). Currently, 43 of the RBs have jet-capable (5,000 feet or longer) runways. Three of the RBs are scheduled airline airports: Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport, Tulsa International Airport and Lawton-Ft. Sill Regional Airport. About 93 percent of Oklahoma’s population is within 25 miles of an airport with a jet-capable runway. The superior mobility and access afforded by our state’s air transportation system is a huge state asset and competitive advantage for Oklahoma.
With the exception of the retail industry, the aviation and aerospace industry is the largest employer in Oklahoma today. It provides 144,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs and a payroll of $5 billion. Total economic output for the industry is $12.5 billion, accounting for just over 10 percent of Oklahoma’s industry output. The average salary of an employee in the aerospace industry is near $60,000; the salary of an average Oklahoman is approximately $37,000.
There are more than 500 companies that comprise the aerospace industry in Oklahoma. The majority of those companies are engaged in the maintenance, repair, overhaul (MRO) of aircraft. The American Airlines’ Tulsa Engineering and Maintenance Center is the largest commercial aircraft repair facility in the world. Likewise, Tinker is the largest military aircraft repair facility in the world. It is also the state’s largest single-site employer, providing nearly 28,000 jobs. The FAA Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, the nationwide, if not worldwide, nerve center for aviation training, safety and information, employs over 7,000 people. Oklahoma is recognized as one of the seven centers, or hubs, in the world for the MRO of aircraft.
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