NEW BEDFORD — The New Bedford Regional Airport is improving the area’s economic development, while also creating jobs, a state study has found.
A recent economic impact study by the Department of Transportation found that the airport generates $32.4 million in local economic activity, a 23 percent increase in four years. It supports 297 public and private jobs with an annual payroll of $10.6 million, an increase of more than 60 new jobs in four years, according to a city news release Monday.
Some might think that the small airport supports private aircrafts and wealthy individuals, but that’s not the case, said Erick D’Leon, airport manager. There is a large support network of working class individuals, from desk jobs to maintenance, that the airport generates.
“The numbers show that the New Bedford Regional Airport is an economic engine and a capable job-creator,” he said in the release. “The new job-growth since 2011 has taken a number of forms, from new aviation-related positions to new construction jobs that are part of the ongoing modernization of our facilities.”
State and local officials will celebrate the achievement and showcase the findings of the study at “An Evening at the Airport,” a free public event from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the airport terminal, according to the release.
“Today’s news is confirmation that our strategy is paying dividends,” Mayor Jon Mitchell said in the release. “Our port just had a record year for freighter activity and now our airport is reporting solid results too. I could not be more pleased with the efforts of the talented leadership team we have put in place at the airport.”
The study confirms the value of recent federal and state investments in the airport, including a $30 million, 5-year program of projects completed last fall with the opening of a new runway. The next major project will be the reconstruction of the taxiway serving the primary runway, a $4 million project that will be funded 95 percent by the FAA and MassDOT, the release stated.