Business View Magazine | October 2020

171 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE OCTOBER 2020 VALLEY INTERNAT IONAL A I RPORT According to a recent study conducted by the Aviation Division of the Texas Department of Transportation, the Valley International’s direct impact to the region consists of 518 jobs and an annual output of $96.2 million. With the addition of capital improvement and visitor impacts, the Airport provides a total of 4,540 jobs with a payroll of $148.1 million, and a $432.7 million impact on the local economy. Known as the Gateway to the Rio Grande Valley and South Padre Island, a popular resort location off the southern coast of Texas, the Airport is located on 2,600 acres and has three asphalt runways: 17R/35L is 8,301 by 150 feet; 13/31 is 7,257 by 150 feet; and 17L/35R is 5,949 by 150 feet. Valley International Airport hosts six commercial carriers: Southwest, United, American, and Frontier, with seasonal service from Delta and Sun Country, offering non-stop service to Houston, Austin, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Chicago, and Minneapolis. In 2018, Valley International had a total of 41,291 airfield operations and serviced 615,000 passengers. In addition, Valley International is a major cargo hub, currently ranked 71st in the U.S., with approximately 60,000 tons transported annually by DHL Aviation and FedEx Express. Valley International is also a general aviation airport serviced by two professional FBOs – Sun Valley Aviation and Gulf Aviation. Up until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Airport was “rocking and rolling,” according to Director of Aviation, Marv Esterly. “We were actually doing better than expected as enplanements went from 302,000 to 345,000 in 2019,” he notes. “And we were looking at approaching that 700,000-passenger mark, until the pandemic came along. As you can imagine, that has devastated us as much as it has devastated airports, nationwide. So, it was a huge hit and we took a few moments to be depressed and to sob a little bit. But when things get tough, the tough get going. We knew that we had to protect the passengers and our employees here in the terminal building, so we implemented steps,