New theft could mean $ 3 million more spent in the New Bern area each year
With your feet on the ground or your head in the clouds, what’s happening at Coastal Carolina Regional Airport is everyone’s business.
Residents of the New Bern area who do not intend to fly will always benefit from the progress and improvements EWN has made over the past year, as well as what it plans to do.
“We think EWN is very important to the community. It’s a huge asset to the community, not only to have an airport, but an airport with commercial service, ”said Andrew Shorter, Director of EWN. “It’s of great value to the community, to the overall health of the community and also a benefit if you want to travel.”
Earlier this year, EWN applied for a grant from the Department of Transportation’s Small Community Air Services Development Program that they would use to add a new flight service to Washington, DC, which would have an economic return of $ 437 million. in 20 years. The grant is expected to be awarded in August.
The EWN has already had support from businesses and community members, who have helped them raise $ 130,000, as they have to match a certain percentage of the grant to show community buy-in.
“There is a very clear need when you talk to the Boshs, Moens, Chemacs, all the businesses that are here now and others that want to come and serve the Northeast, so we consider DC to be our first. step. Said Eric Litchfield, airport commercial director.
Not only would a flight to DC help Craven County businesses make and attract business, it would also bring 140 jobs.
The flight to and from the capital would also inject $ 3,258,520 into the region each year through direct visitor spending, according to a study by the North Carolina State Institute for Transportation Research and Education.
The direct expenses of the estimated 25,550 new visitors each year include things like accommodation, meals, gas, shopping and more.
The same study also found that the new route would lead to 5,110 of those visitors staying overnight in the area, participating in amenities and seeing all the area has to offer.
Washington DC is North Carolina’s second-largest second home base and third-largest number of state visits. The new flight would convert those who usually drive to theft.
North Carolina would earn $ 24,750 in annual property taxes on the 20 planned new homes purchased as a result of the route.
“People don’t come here for the airport, they come here for what we have, and we have a very unique place. We are located here to provide service to the Outer Banks, Crystal Coast and Ocracoke, no other commercial airport has that, ”Litchfield said.
Over the past year, when travel seemed to be asleep, the EWN team worked hard to improve infrastructure and forge new partnerships.
Construction of the new Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting building is progressing and a new fire truck has been ordered, bringing the airport into its new era.
“This will increase the level of training, safety and efficiency of our firefighters, someone you hope you never have to use,” Shorter said.
The design phase of the main terminal upgrade is nearing completion and canteen services will be added throughout the lobby, satisfying passenger cravings for food 24/7.
Two commercial hangars, airports first, will bring future aviation companies to the airport and tenders will start soon for them.
“Planes are a big deal here and from a fiscal point of view it’s good to have a lot of planes here because they don’t use the roads, they don’t use the schools, they don’t use not a lot of facilities, but they generate good tax revenue, ”Litchfield said.
According to Airport Council International-North America, every dollar spent on infrastructure translates to $ 1 to $ 2.50 for local economies.
Perhaps even more valuable than physical improvements, EWN has worked to build a network of relationships with area tourism agencies as well as area companies. The New Bern area is not big enough to see the need for a new flight service coming only from business travel or only tourism, it’s a combination. EWN strives to understand the needs and goals of both as it seeks to grow.
The EWN team plans to keep moving forward, despite what the coming year may bring.
“We are at full speed. We just have to keep our foot on the accelerator because we can’t afford to be on the outside, and at some point we’ll come out stronger, ”said Shorter.