MDOT Updates 2008 Airport System Plan


The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Office of Aeronautics (AERO) today announced details of the 2017 Michigan Aviation System Plan, which was commissioned to update the Michigan Airport System Plan (MASP) from 2008. The study continues the analysis and methods established during the 2008 plan update and focuses on public-use airports that generate more than two million aircraft operations annually when combined.

The report indicates Michigan has more than 400 private and public-use aviation facilities, including Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and general aviation airports, including Home Acres Sky Ranch in Lake City. In addition to regular passenger service, the general aviation system in Michigan supports a host of operations including: agricultural spraying, emergency and medical operations, firefighting, flight training, aerial photography, coast guard and military operations, remote access, personal and corporate travel, and cargo.

The report also says that in the next 20 years, several trends and technological advancements are expected to influence Michigan’s aviation industry, including emphasis on Light Sport Aircraft certifications and a possible pilot shortage. An aircraft is certified as LSA if it meets certain criteria including weight, speed, and other federal guidelines. Technological improvements are being found in the Next Generation Airspace System (NextGen) and in the form of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

Additionally, the study unpacked the functions of Michigan’s system of airports, which included 70 percent general aviation operations, 29 percent commercial service, and 1 percent military activity. The majority of airports in the system have little or no commercial service, but support a valuable GA network to transport people and goods throughout the state. MDOT forecasts aviation growth to increase as long as Michigan and the U.S. economies continue to post gains. While fuel prices steadily rose from 2001-2011, impacting commercial and GA travel costs, data indicates increased costs of crude oil, refining costs, and other factors, will lead to higher costs for all types of refined petroleum products, including jet fuel and general aviation fuel.

As aviation industry continues to be propelled by tourism, Michigan hosted a record 113.4 million visitors in 2014, generating $37.8 billion in total business sales, $22.8 billion in traveler spending, and $24.5 billion in tourism-related expenditures.

A full version of the report can be read here.

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