Aviation is big in Enid | Editorials

Aviation has been a big part of Enid and the local economy for a long time.

We’re talking big. Like nearly $1 billion big.

A recently survey — the Oklahoma Aviation and Aerospace Economic Impact Study — released by Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission shows Vance Air Force Base has an annual economic impact of $925 million, while Enid Woodring Regional Airport pumps $29.2 million into the local economy every year.

Woodring itself and the businesses there have a total employment of 293.3, which includes direct, indirect and induced, a total annual payroll of $11.3 million and total annual spending of $17.8 million. Vance’s total direct, indirect and induced employment total is 6,310. The base has a total annual payroll of $301 million, with total annual spending of $624 million.

Let those numbers sink in and try to image what our community would be like without Vance or Woodring, or both. It’s not a pretty picture.

That’s why we have organizations like Vance Development Authority and Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission. That’s why the city of Enid pays Mike Cooper to be military liaison. We have to protect the valuable aviation assets we have, namely Vance.

Enid has learned its lesson about the importance of aviation.

Back in the day, Clyde Cessna tried to make a go in the aircraft industry here but couldn’t get the financial backing or loans. So, he packed up and went to Wichita, Kan., and the company he founded became an aviation giant.

Now, the city works hand in hand with Vance, doing what needs to be done to make the Air Force base an indispensable part of our national defense.

Woodring is a key part of that partnership, with a joint-use hangar for military and civilian interests, an improved apron area and the airport’s runway, which was lengthened to 8,000 feet to accommodate more Vance aircraft. The military even purchased 174,000 gallons of jet fuel from Woodring last year.

City officials will continue to be vigilant. Rumblings in Washington, D.C., concerning another round of base closures never totally go away. That why we’ve got to stay on top of things and make sure the people who make the decision realize what an important part Vance plays in the overall Air Force mission.

Aviation is too big in Enid to do any less.

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