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Airports making an impact on local community

February 28, 2012, 03:02 pm

The Denver International Airport recently reported its busiest year in its 17-year history, with nearly 53 million people passing through the facility in 2011, about 1 million more than reported in 2010.

Aviation Manager Kim Davis said two new carriers were added to the airport's lineup: Icelandair and Spirit. Both carriers have increased traffic at the airport and expect to continue to increase business, Summit Daily reported.

Similarly, smaller airports in Western Massachusetts are also adding value to the local community. According to The Republican, four airports in the Pioneer Valley contribute to more than 44 percent of the total economic impact made across Massachusetts by the 30 general aviation airports in the state. Turner Falls, Northampton, Orange Municipal and Barnes Regional airports employ more than 2,280 workers and generate more than $196.5 million into the local economy. Across the state, Massachusetts general aviation airports employ more than 4,300 workers, with a total economic impact of $443.2 million.

In an interview with the source, Christopher Willenborg, administrator for the Aeronautics Division of the state Department of Transportation, said each of the airports in Massachusetts is unique and plays a valuable role in the local communities they serve.

"Massachusetts airports contribute significantly to our state's economy and those airports in Western Massachusetts play a critical role whether it is military support, aircraft maintenance or aviation clubs," Willenborg told the source. "They all have very unique activities."

The airports are expected to keep growing regarding employment opportunities, traffic and renovations. In fact, a recent report from the state transportation agency addressed the various contributions the state's airports make to the local economy. All the airports combined employ more than 124,369 workers, creating an economic impact greater than $11.9 billion. Boston's Logan International Airport alone accounts for $8.9 billion of the economic impact, the source reported.

The report serves as a tool for the Department of Transportation to reference when educating communities and legislatures on the importance of maintaining and support local airport infrastructure and growth. It is vital for funding to remain intact for these facilities for associated communities to keep thriving, the source reported.

"The economic impact study confirms what the aviation community statewide understands about the vital role our airports play in providing safe transportation for commerce, military and recreational users," Willenborg told the source.

It is also important for pilots to maintain safety in the skies with investment in pilot insurance.

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