Rapid City Regional Airport Economic Impact

Rapid City Regional Airport has a vital role in facilitating air travel for the Rapid City region. However, that is not the only role RAP has in the local region. RAP also contributes to the region's economy by creating economic activity, jobs, and income. This economic activity multiplies within the entire regional economy. This study attempts to estimate this economic impact based on commercial visitors, general aviation visitors, RAP operations, RAP capital investments, and RAP business tenants.

Christian Glupker, MBA, Primary Researcher

Paul Isely, Ph.D., Reviewer

Economic Impact

The airport generates $456 million in economic activity for Pennington County.

Tax Revenue

Rapid City Regional Airport generates $2,219,801 in tax revenue for Pennington County.


The airport supports an estimated 2,883 jobs in Pennington County.

Commercial Airline Service

In 2022 338,458 passengers utilized RAP resulting in $153 million in direct spending and $188 million economic impact.

Employment - Source
Impact Pennington County

Commercial Visitors


General Aviation


Airport Operations


Airport Capital Investments


Airport Business Tenants


Total Employment


Economic Activity - Source
Impact Pennington County

Commercial Visitors


General Aviation


Airport Operations


Airport Capital Investments


Airport Business Tenants


Total Annual Economic Activity


7,537 Surveys

This sample size well exceeds the target - providing a 95% confidence level

Commercial airline visitors are defined as those who arrive at the airport on commercial airlines. An intercept survey was used to collect commercial spending data. The survey was administered via Qualtrics from October 2022, through October 2023. Airport visitors were asked to complete the survey to access free Wi-Fi. Data gathered includes zip code, length of visits, party size, spending patterns, and general demographics. Data from this survey was used to calculate the economic impact of commercial visitor spending and the catalytic effect of RAP on household incomes.

In calculating the economic impact of commercial visitors, only spending associated with nonlocal commercial visitors, that is, visitors who live outside the defined local region, is included. This nonlocal spending is considered ‘new’ money to the local economy. For this study, the local economy is defined as Pennington County.