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NCDOT releases the State of Aviation report

Henderson Field contributes significantly to the local economy

PENDER COUNTY – The North Carolina Department of Transportation released its annual report, The State of Aviation, on Monday. The report highlights the contribution of airports across the state.

“The 2023 North Carolina State of Aviation Report highlights the positive impacts North Carolina’s airport system has on our economy,” said Gage King, Henderson Field Airport manager in Pender County. “With a total economic impact of more than $72 billion, it is clear that aviation and our airport system are a vital part of our state’s economy.”

King said Henderson Field Airport is continuing to positively impact Eastern North Carolina’s local economy by supporting 60 jobs and generating $13,350,000 in economic activity annually.

It is often viewed that General Aviation airports such as Henderson Field in northern Pender County are burdens on the taxpayers, but this report relays the exact opposite.

“It’s important to know that this report is generated from data collected in 2021 which was highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said King. “While many other industries and sectors struggled through the pandemic, it is clear that aviation was very resilient and played a major role in the economic recovery.”

King points out that one of the key reasons for aviation’s role in the economic recovery was that small airports, including Henderson Field Airport, allowed businesses and vacationers to travel more safely with less human interaction. Additionally, he cited that our region is experiencing strong residential and business growth that has ultimately contributed to growth in our economic impact by more than 150 percent compared to the last aviation report in 2019.

“This report reaffirms the viability of investments made at the airport from both the local and state level,” said King. “We expect nearly $30 million in projects and development at Henderson Field Airport over the next five years. These investments will allow us to facilitate larger aircraft from further away, ultimately expanding access to our community for tourism, business, and industry.

“It will be exciting to see our local communities grow in the coming years and see Henderson Field Airport grow as an economic engine for our economy,” added King.

To read the State of Aviation report visit

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