Posted March 13, 2018
In the 60’s and 70’s you could fly from Goldsboro or Kinston through Rocky Mount or Hickory to your destination. Today none of these airports have airline service because the market and population has changed. In inflation-adjusted dollars it is less expensive to fly today than it was 30 years ago, so more people are flying.
The Albert J. Ellis Airport was created to serve the needs of the region’s citizens, including the military. It was also created to bring jobs and prosperity to our area. Today the airport supports over 370 jobs and has an estimated payroll of over $12M. It pumps over $237M into the local and regional economies. Finally, the airport generates taxes which helps to keep down your local taxes.
OAJ is growing and just four years earlier the job count was much less, so jobs are growing. The airport also supports many other industries from agriculture, manufacturing, military, and tourism to cite a few. What might seem like a minor decision as to which airport to fly from, over time that can add up.
For example, airlines look for demand to a destination before that add service. If everyone going to New York flies from another airport the airline won’t see the demand at OAJ, therefore, won’t add the direct flights everyone wants. Eventually, airline service will decline which will have a negative impact on the local economy.
If we fill the airplanes, the airlines will bring more flights to more destinations. More flights mean more competition and lower airfares. That’s something we can all agree would be a good thing.