Fuel for Flight: Study shows airport relocation wi...

Fuel for Flight: Study shows airport relocation will bring jobs and revenue to the region

The MTSU Aerospace campus at the Shelbyville Municipal Airport in Bedford County promises to generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue and hundreds of jobs for that community over the next three years, according to a recent economic impact study.

With more than $60 million in state funds for the project approved, MTSU is relocating its flight training program to the Shelbyville airport to provide a state-of-the-art training experience for students in its exploding Pro Pilot program, which is outgrowing its allocated footprint at Murfreesboro Municipal Airport.

The report by the Business and Economic Research Center (BERC), completed in March, evaluated the financial benefits that the project would bring to Shelbyville and Bedford County. Results of the study show:

  • Jobs during construction: The construction phase will be responsible, directly and indirectly, for 164 jobs and more than $91 million in business revenue over three years. Land acquisition, site improvement, and construction spending will total $22.5 million over three years.
  • Jobs during operation: The relocation of Aerospace operations will be responsible, directly and indirectly, for 257 jobs and nearly $14 million in business revenue annually.
  • Additional tax revenue: MTSU Aerospace’s operation in Bedford County will generate nearly $140,000 in property tax and $536,989 in sales tax annually.

“Benefits cited in the report are the tip of iceberg: Relocating a training program, which is in the top 10 in the nation, will rebrand the county as one of the major centers for aviation training,” said Murat Arik, director of BERC. The center, part of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business, has been conducting business and economic research for public and private clients since the early 1970s.

The airport relocation study also showed that in the estimated three years required to prepare the airport site and begin construction, and as MTSU begins to ramp up operations, the activity would generate personal income  of $37.8 million—direct, indirect, and induced.

“This research . . . gives us a preview of the transforma-tional impacts of this partnership and gives clarity to the vision of the state, city, and county leaders who pursued this opportunity as a game-changer for our region.”

—Jimmy W. Hart


164 jobs

$91M business revenue

$22.5M construction spending

$37.8M personal income


257 jobs

$14M business revenue

$676K property and sales tax revenue