News Flash

City of Durango News Flash

Posted on: February 6, 2020

Study Finds DRO Produces Nearly $300 Million in Annual Economic Impact

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The Durango-LaPlata County Airport (DRO) was responsible for generating $293 million in economic impact in 2018, according to a recent report by the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) Division of Aeronautics.

The Colorado Aviation Economic Impact Study (CEIS), conducted every five years, looks at the economic impact of 70 public-use airports in the state. The economic contribution of these airports increased 30 percent between 2013 and 2018.

The study measured criteria including jobs created and supported by airport operations, total payroll compensation, business revenue and visitor spending. According to the study, DRO supported 2,707 jobs, $107 million in payroll, $173 million in “value-added” economic productivity and $293 million in total business revenue in 2018.

“The findings underscore DRO’s role as a powerful economic engine to Durango, Southwest Colorado, and the entire Four Corners region,” says Tony Vicari, Director of Aviation. “DRO not only provides direct economic impacts to the region’s employment, tax base and business environment. As the state’s fifth busiest commercial airport, DRO also plays a crucial role in facilitating transport of people in and out of the Four Corners region, paying enormous indirect dividends along the way.”

Commercial airlines and the 390,000 passengers they serve annually at DRO are the most well-known aspects of the airport, but other operations also impact the regional economy. Air cargo – including overnight package delivery services such as FedEx and UPS – is a key logistical need for both businesses and individuals. General aviation – traffic by private and corporate planes – makes up over half of all takeoffs and landings at DRO. The U.S. Forest Service air tanker base provides critical aerial firefighting support to the entire region. Military flight training and air medical transport are among other routine aviation activities at the airport.

Full results of the CDOT 2020 Aviation Economic Impact Report will be released in April. Learn more about the study’s methodology here.

About Durango-La Plata County Airport

Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO) is the primary regional airport for Southwest Colorado, Northwest New Mexico, and the entire Four Corners region. DRO welcomed over 390,000 passengers in 2019 and contributes over $290 million annually to the regional economy. DRO is served by two of the four largest U.S. airlines (American and United), offering daily nonstop routes to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Denver (DEN), Phoenix (PHX) and seasonally to Chicago (ORD), Houston (IAH), and Los Angeles (LAX).


DRO operates as an enterprise fund of the City of Durango and generates self-sustaining revenue from airport tenants and users in the form of airline rent and landing fees, terminal concessions, ground leases, and parking fees. The airport does not receive any local tax funding.


Learn more about the Durango-La Plata County Airport at FlyDurango.com. Follow us on social media at Twitter.com/DROAirport and Facebook.com/DROAirport.

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