Tucson International Airport, above, and Ryan Airfield contribute $7.4 billion to the economy, a new study shows.

In an effort to bring more companies close to Tucson-area runways, the airport is partnering with the region’s economic development agency to market these sites.

Air cargo, aerospace and defense-related companies will be the target of the recently announced campaign.

The boards of the Tucson Airport Authority and Sun Corridor Inc., formalized the partnership last week.

Tucson International Airport and Ryan Airfield contribute $7.4 billion to the region’s economy and support more than 43,000 jobs with an average wage of $81,731, a new economic impact study by Elliott D. Pollack and Co., shows.

“We have a lot more cargo going out of here than people realize,” said Bonnie Allin, CEO of the airport authority. “If we can get the word out and market ourselves nationally and internationally, we think we could really make a bigger impact.”

She said Sun Corridor’s ability to bring incentives and tax credits to potential companies is a tool the airport doesn’t have.

“They have the marketing experience and relationship with site selectors,” Allin said. “The ultimate goal is for us to combine our strengths and bring in additional companies and jobs into the region.”

She said the airport has spent about $7 million putting in roadways, utilities and taxiways for potential companies.

“We could put an aircraft manufacturer out there,” Allin said. “We’re looking for the right connections to the right people.”

The announced partnership has already piqued interest, said Joe Snell, CEO of Sun Corridor Inc.

“We’ve already gotten calls from companies looking for hangar space and access to runways,” he said.

A successful campaign, he said, will bring more companies to the airport area, creating more jobs and home sales in the region.

Contact reporter Gabriela Rico at grico@tucson.com. On Facebook: Facebook.com/DailyStarBiz.

Reporter

Gabriela's newspaper career began at the Tucson Citizen in '86 as the "movie-times girl" where she'd call local theaters for showtimes. Since then, she's written about crime, education, immigration, trade and business. She's been with the Star since 2007.