While many of us never step foot in our local airport, it has a major impact in our community.
Vero Beach — the only Treasure Coast airport with regularly scheduled commercial air service (Elite Airways to Newark, New Jersey, and Asheville, North Carolina) — has the greatest economic impact in our region, according to a new study by the Florida Department of Transportation.
Operations at Vero Beach Regional Airport, from flight training schools to Piper Aircraft, contributed more than $1.3 billion to the local economy, DOT said. The airport has the longest runway in the region (7,314 feet).
Vero Beach was followed by Witham Field in Stuart ($786 million, 5,828 feet), Treasure Coast International in Fort Pierce ($509 million; 6,492 feet) and Sebastian Municipal ($54 million, 4,023 feet).
For comparison sake, the two closest major airports — Palm Beach International Airport and Melbourne International Airport — contributed $5.6 billion and $2.88 billion, respectively. Statewide, more than 100 airports contributed more than $18.4 billion to the economy.
Activity at Florida’s airports creates noise and burns fuel. But it also creates lots of jobs — more than 108,000 statewide, the DOT said — and helps many of us get from here to there and back safely.