Report: Airports contribute $61B, 373,000 jobs to NC economy
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Department of Transportation released its annual report, The State of Aviation, this week. The report highlights the contribution of airports across the state.
“Publicly owned airports contribute $61 billion to the state’s economy annually and supports 373,000 jobs,” said Gage King, Henderson Field Airport manager in Pender County.
It is important to note that our local General Aviation airports contribute more than $5.2 billion annually to the economy and create over 27,000 jobs.
According to the report, the Wilmington International Airport contributed 16,385 jobs and had an economic output of $2,247,480,000.
“It is often viewed that General Aviation airports such as Henderson Field in northern Pender County are burdens on the taxpayers, but this report relays the exact opposite,” said King. “Businesses, big and small, utilize North Carolina’s robust system of airports to efficiently access communities from all over the country. These businesses bring jobs, money, and tax revenue to our state.”
Henderson Field contributes more than $5.2 million to the state’s economy while creating 30 jobs.
“Over the past 12 months, we have proudly served local manufacturers, suppliers of local manufacturers, agriculture, developers, healthcare, and tourism to our area’s great golf courses and beaches,” said King. “As our communities grow, it is important that our airport grows as well.”
Currently, Henderson Field is increasing its infrastructure to facilitate more businesses and tourism which ultimately increases its impact on the economy.
“This year we are expected to install an Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) which will allow pilots and citizens to see accurate, real time weather,” said King.
In a recent survey to business and casual users, an AWOS was the second most requested piece of infrastructure.
“Our highest requested piece of infrastructure was a longer runway,” noted King. “Through much anticipation and years of work, we are expected to start the process of extending our runway to 5,500ft in the following weeks with the first phases of work approved in January by NCDOT. This is an elaborate project expected to last approximately 3 years, but it is much needed and can’t come soon enough for a rapidly growing community. We look forward to continuing to positively impact the economy for years to come.”