The Hagerstown Regional Airport ranked second in total jobs and third in business revenues among 35 public-use airports statewide in 2014, according to an economic impact study released by the Maryland Aviation Administration earlier this month.
Not counting Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, a total of 9,368 jobs — direct, indirect and induced — were traced to Maryland’s aviation industry in the past year, producing about $865 million for state and local economies.
Personal income in the form of wages and benefits amounted to $488.4 million, while another $239.3 million was spent on local purchases last year, the study said.
Hagerstown Regional Airport generated $108.9 million in business revenue and supported 1,447 total jobs in 2014, behind only Martin State Airport in jobs with 2,529, it said.
With a larger market just east of Baltimore and a substantial military presence, Martin State outshone all others in the yearly report.
But Hagerstown Regional Airport Director Phil Ridenour said the Washington County facility’s third-place ranking in revenue — just behind second-ranked Frederick Municipal Airport’s total of $110.5 million — is a great sign for the local economy.
“It’s a big deal for us,” Ridenour said. “… Take those numbers away, and what does that do to the economy for the local area? I think it’s definitely a boost to the local area and the economy; seeing those numbers, it’s very beneficial.”
Of the revenues generated at the airport north of Hagerstown, $79.5 million was paid out in personal income and another $24.5 million through local purchases in 2014. Another $8.4 million went toward state and local taxes through airport-related revenues, the study said.
Hagerstown offers commercial flights to Florida through Allegiant Air and daily commuter service to and from Dulles International Airport in Virginia near Washington, D.C., via Sun Air International.
In addition, the 700-acre airfield also is home to more than a dozen aviation-related business.
The county-owned airport was home to 1,447 total jobs in 2014, including direct, induced and indirect positions. A total of 1,162 jobs were related to on-site operations — 659 of those directly related to airport operations — while the other 285 total jobs were attributed to visitor traffic.
“Most people don’t realize the magnitude of economic development based at and around the Hagerstown Regional Airport,” said county Commissioner John F. Barr, who noted that a number of airport businesses operate under restricted government defense contracts.
“Most of it has top secrecy to it, and (the public doesn’t) know about it,” he said. “There’s more activity out there than the eye can see.”
Ridenour said the businesses at the airport range from one- or two-person small aircraft repair, maintenance and overhaul operations to large corporations and general-aviation service companies, such as Rider Jet Center.
“We have some great businesses here at the airport … (they) have a great impact on us,” he said. “We have people fly in just to come to those businesses,” such as the Runways restaurant inside the Rider Jet Center’s new facility on the north side of the airport.
Transient general-aviation flights make up the bulk of aircraft activity at the airport, totaling 22,503 of 55,598 total operations in 2014, the study said.
Local general aviation accounted for 18,659 operations, while military and air taxi/commercial made up 8,704 and 5,732 operations, respectively.