BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — The results of an economic impact study released on Aug. 25 revealed North Central West Virginia Airport and the associated businesses located there are responsible for a $1 billion contribution to the area.
“In 2008, when that study was done, the airport had an impact annually of $394 million,” Rick Rock, Airport Director said. “It’s important, we thought, to have that study updated about every five years. So, we were pleased and excited to find out that economic impact has grown.”
Rock partially attributes the numbers put together by Sixel Consulting Group to the overall success of the aerospace industry.
“We’ve had an expansion of the aerospace industry on our fields. I think the fact that you see the likes of Bombardier, and Pratt-Whitney, and E.A.S.W. and KCI, the economic downturn did not affect them,” he said. “Aviation airspace has grown in the country and has done very well, and we have a large component of that here.”
An increase in the average number of passengers which travel through the airport helped with the economic impact as well.
“Commercial service has grown with more options to bring in people,” Rock said. “Whether it we through the Big XII [Athletic Conference], or Allegiant Air flights [non-stop to Orlando] and our daily flights to Washington Dulles [International Airport], those have also grown.”
The expansion of services also helped the airport reach another milestone. A study conducted by architectural and engineering firm Mead & Hunt concluded, as of March 31, the facility was the third largest in the state in terms of the number of passengers over a year’s time. NCWV had 12,172 passengers, Huntington had the second-most passengers with 90,108 and Charleston had the highest total, 214,085.
The airport made it a point to release the economic impact study’s findings to prove they are an asset to the community and are a viable asset to any future investors.
“It’s good numbers to see, to show people that could be investing, whether it be private or public entities, that we are a good return on the investment,” Rock said. “As we continue to grow, it not only benefits those located on the airport, but everyone around it.”
With the success, the airport is not satisfied with complacency, but rather looks to grow the impact even further.
“I really do believe the sky’s the limit,” Rock said. “I think we have a great team up there. You see a lot of good things with the companies located up there. I believe as our community grows, our airport will continue to grow and we’ll be a true regional airport.”