EASTON — The Easton Airport recently reported a 35 percent increase in air traffic.
The result, according to Airport Manager Mike Henry, could be a bigger impact on the local economy.
The airport reported 71,162 flights in fiscal year 2015, which is up from 52,591 flights in fiscal year 2014.
Henry partly attributed the increase to Trident Aircraft, an aircraft rental and instruction company based at Easton Airport that currently has a contract to train midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
But Henry said the airport also is seeing increased activity in corporate jet operations and general aviation flying.
Easton Airport, though it is a Talbot County enterprise, has been self-sufficient for 22 years, meaning it does not use taxpayer money to operate.
“We run it like a business, you know, we generate the revenue and pay the bills,” Henry said.
Henry said the Maryland Aviation Administration is putting together a study to evaluate Easton Airport’s contribution to the local economy.
The last study was released in 2012, Henry said, when there were “a lot fewer aircrafts based here, a lot fewer operations.”
According to the newest study, which is still in draft mode and scheduled for release before the end of the summer, Easton Airport supports 483 jobs — up from 362 in 2012 — and pulls in about $42.4 million in business revenues each year, which is up from about $20 million in 2012. The study also places personal incomes for the airport at around $20 million and estimates it contributes $2.1 million in local and state taxes.
Besides the Navy midshipmen who are trained there — and subsequently spend money on lunch while they’re in town — Henry said people who come through the airport are doing business in the county and come to the area for recreation and vacations.