July 2018

288 289 to operate C-5 Galaxies,” says Turner. “Our prima- ry user is L-3 Doss Aviation, which is a private company. They hold a contract to train all of the United States Air Force pilots and to conduct their initial flight tests. They account for about 90 percent of our 180,000 operations a year.” Pueblo Memorial is also home to charter op- erators and United Express, a commercial carrier that provides service to and from Denver, which is about 150 miles away. “We also have the presence of about 70 private, general-aviation aircraft on the field, and a number of businesses, including Rocky Mountain Flower, our FBO, or fixed-based operator, which handles a growing number of business jets that are either coming here to southern Colorado or stopping here for fuel on their way to destinations on the east or west coasts.” Approximately 50 percent of the Airport’s revenue is generated from leases, rents, and fees, and the City of Pueblo provides the re- mainder of its operating funds. The Airport has 11 full-time employees and three part-timers, but its impact on the surrounding community is far greater than those numbers indicate. Turner says the most recent study by the State of Colo- rado, conducted in 2013, found that the airport PUEBLO MEMORIAL AIRPORT supported 827 jobs, with a payroll of just under $22 million, and a total economic impact of $85 million. He believes those numbers have only grown due to significant growth in the Pueblo area over the last few years. Turner points to several factors that provide Pueblo Memorial with a competitive advantage over other small airports found throughout the Front Range, or southern portion of the Rocky Mountains: “The comment we get here most often is, ‘It’s easy to get in and out of Pueblo,’” he says. “We don’t see the level of congestion in the airspace that the Denver-metro area has or Colorado Springs, for that matter. So that makes us a nice place for people who are just passing through to stop, take a break, and refuel. The other competitive advantage is our location on the Arkansas River Valley, next to the Rocky Mountains.We see more than 300 days of sunshine each year, so weather stoppages here are not a big issue, whereas pilots transitioning cross-country up north can encounter a number of conditions - wintry weather or thunderstorms. We see quite a number of diversions from air- ports to our north during thunderstorm season.” The area’s cost of living, relative to communi-