MARSHFIELD – Through its operation and reliance on other local businesses, a state report found that Marshfield Municipal Airport helps employ 74 people who collectively make $3.6 million a year, generating $9.4 million for the economy.
The state Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division recently released a 2014 study on the economic impact of the 39 public-use airports in Massachusetts.
The study looked at total employment, payroll and output for each airport based on direct and indirect impacts, which were calculated using multipliers that are specific to Massachusetts.
“For example, when an airport employee uses their salary to buy groceries at a local store, their spending helps to support that store and its employees,” the report states. “In general, for every $100 spent by aviation-related businesses, an additional multiplier impact of $56 is created within Massachusetts.”
In total, all airports in Massachusetts, including Logan Airport, in 2014 created jobs for 162,256 people who received $6.1 billion in total salaries and generated $16.6 billion for the economy each year.
The state’s 30 general aviation airports, including Marshfield’s George Harlow Field, account for 4,466 of those jobs, leading to $169.1 million in salaries and $516.1 million in economic activity.
Marshfield Airport Manager Dave Dinneen said he’s pleased with the findings on the town-owned airport, which is managed by Shoreline Aviation.
“The airport’s contribution of $9.1 million is a clear indication that the airport plays a major role in the regional economy,” he said.
Dinneen said Shoreline Aviation currently employs 20 full- and part-time employees – including reserve military personnel and veterans – many of whom live in Marshfield. Shoreline leases the airport from the town for $2,446 a month, and pays the salary of all airport personnel, including the airport manager.
Money from the airport operation re-circulated in the economy created 74 jobs in 2014 through capital projects, airport operations and visitor spending. For example, Dinneen said Shoreline Aviation provides three courtesy vehicles that shuttle visitors to inns, restaurants and shops in the community.
“We try to keep things in town, and one of the airport’s economic values is working with local businesses,” Dinneen said. “Aviation continues to be a strong economic catalyst in the Commonwealth.”
Marshfield Airport recently underwent a $15.34 million runway-safety improvement project. The Federal Aviation Administration provided an $11.34 million grant for the project, the state pitched in $1.4 million, and voters at a special town meeting in 2011 approved $200,000.
Marshfield Airport Commission Chairman David Suffredini said the report demonstrates that the economic reasons that prompted residents to vote to acquire the airport in 1965 have stood the test of time.
“If anything, as shown by the recently completed economic impact study, the airport has contributed far more to the community than was ever anticipated,” he said. “Marshfield Airport is part of our interstate/intermodal transportation system and links our town to the nation and the world.”
Suffredini said many local businesses own, rent or charter aircraft to get to parts of the state and country not serviced by commercial airlines, giving them a competitive edge.
“Even local fishermen utilize the aircraft from Marshfield for fish-spotting activities,” he said.
The report also found that Plymouth Municipal Airport’s operation supports 319 jobs, $13.7 million in payroll and $47.9 million in total financial impact.