Comptroller Peter Franchot ended his Mid-Shore visit on Tuesday, Nov. 3, with a stop at the Easton Airport.
Franchot and airport manager Mike Henry, along with county and town elected officials, discussed the economic impact of the airport to Talbot County and the airport’s plans for the future.
Henry said a Maryland Aviation Administration study released in 2015 found the airport provides 483 jobs, with more than $42 million in business revenues and more than $20 million in personal income, and a state and local tax impact of more than $2 million.
“A lot of times you don’t think about it driving by … but we’re a fairly good-sized economic engine for the county,” Henry said.
The Easton Airport currently has an application in to the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration to try and get it designated as a “gateway airport,” Easton Mayor Bob Willey said.
Henry said that, for example, for a plane to fly into Reagan National Airport, it has to be cleared through a gateway airport, and the closest gateway airports right now are in Philadelphia and Dulles, Va.
Henry said the FAA classified the Easton Airport, one of more than 5,000 general aviation airports that receive federal funding, as a national airport — one of 87 national airports in the country.
“What that means to us, actually, when it comes to future funding of capital projects through the airport improvement program, I think we’ve got a leg up in that priority,” Henry said.
After the discussion, Franchot toured Spitfire USA, a hanger owned by Catalyst Health Solutions founder Tom Blair that houses a collection of flyable World War II spitfire airplanes and classic automobiles.
Franchot then stopped by Trident Aircraft. Trident has a contract with the U.S. Navy to screen Naval Academy students and find the ones with an affinity for flight. This past summer, Trident trained more than 300 midshipmen in ground control and flight.