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Building Stronger Communities Through Airport Investments

from North Carolina Skybrief
A publication of the State Aviation Journal

See the full newsletter here.

NCDOT Aviation Director Bobby Walston (pictured at right) joins local officials celebrating business expansion at the North Carolina Global TransPark (GTP), including (from left) Mark Pope, North Carolina Global TransPark Economic Development Region; Tommy Sowers, FlyExclusive; John Rouse, GTP; and Jim Segrave, LGM Enterprises, FlyExclusive and Jetstream.

By Bobby Walston
Director, North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Aviation

Last week, I had the honor of participating in an exciting event at the North Carolina Global TransPark (GTP) in Kinston. The occasion: Jetstream Aviation and local officials cut the ribbon on a $10.5 million facility for painting and refurbishing aircraft, expected to create 145 jobs with average salaries of nearly $60,000 a year – well above Lenoir County’s average wage of $39,839. 

After cutting the ribbon, Jetstream with sister company, FlyExclusive, announced they were expanding operations to meet growing demand. FlyExclusive operates a charter service at Kinston Regional Jetport. The companies now plan to construct a $10 million hangar facility to support their aircraft maintenance and aircraft interior refurbishment businesses, adding 200 additional jobs that will also pay an average annual wage of around $60,000.

The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation supported both projects with $6.5 million in state investments ($4.5 million in grants and a $2 million loan), leveraging investments made by the community, state and federal agencies, and the company.

In return, our analysis shows the newly announced facility expansion will contribute an annual economic benefit of $128 million to the economy, pay more than $1 million a year in state tax revenues from construction and operations – and importantly – create 200 jobs. 

This project clearly demonstrates the value our state’s 72 public airports provide to our communities and state and why state investment in airport infrastructure development, in partnership with local governments and companies, is so important. 

Our airports annually return more than $61 billion to the state’s economy, support more than 373,000 jobs and contribute more than $2.5 billion a year in state and local tax revenues. Public-private partnership investments such as these are a major reason why.

We are grateful to FlyExclusive, Jetstream and our other innovative aerospace companies for locating and expanding in North Carolina. We applaud the workforce of our state for enabling these companies to grow and thrive. And we remain proud of the role our agency can play in supporting the growth and economic health of our companies, communities and state.