Small Airports, Big Impact on State’s Economy
January 18, 2019
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  • If you think about airports with a large economic impact, places like Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte come to mind.

    But the state’s smaller airports pump millions into the state’s economy. Flight instructor Bill Schwabenton says he likes working at Asheboro’s airport.

    “It’s kind of laid back. We’re out in the country. It’s quiet at times, so you can get into flight training very quickly,” said Schwabenton.

    Friday around lunchtime, manager Richard McGraw said the airport wasn’t busy at all, because of the low ceiling.

    “Statistically, we see 45 flights in or out of here a day,” said McGraw.

    And not just small planes, multi-million dollar corporate jets carrying executives to meetings and businesses.

    “They’re burning tons of jet fuel, they need all kinds of services, when they get here when they land, they get catering, rental cars,” said McGraw.

    McGraw says the business flights include executive with Chlorox, the owner of the Randoph mall, and manufacturing operations in the area. A new report from the State Transportation Department says this airport has an economic impact that tops $ 17 million.

    Asheboro Mayor Richard Smith says the impact is significant.

    “It’s an economic engine of greater value than most people realize,” said Smith.

    The airport is expected to continue to be a major economic driver for this part of North Carolina for the future.

    “We hope some day to recruit someone that can build their manufacturing facility or their business and have it based here,” said Smith.

    As the owner of a surgical equipment company, Schwabenton sees the advantage to doing business out of here.

    “If you have to fly the scheduled airlines you fly on their schedule and many times there are delays,” he said.

    The 2019 N.C. State of Aviation Report says the state’s 72 publicly owned airports had a total economic impact of $52 billion.–big-impact