Even Through Pandemic, Raleigh Exec Delivered Major Economic Boost to the Triangle Region

SANFORD, N.C. — Raleigh Exec continues to boost the Triangle Region’s economic success, contributing $52.8 million in economic output annually and supporting 430 jobs, according to a report released last month by the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation.

The report, “North Carolina: The State of Aviation,” highlights economic impacts of the state’s public airports and the related aviation and aerospace assets that support North Carolina’s aviation economy. The state Department of Transportation issues the report every two years to help guide future investment in aviation infrastructure and provide a tool for recruiting aviation and aerospace industry companies and investment.

The two-year cycle means this year’s report was based on data from 2021, a year still ravaged by the pandemic. Economic shutdowns that began in the late winter of 2020 extended well into 2021, as the world economy slowly began to rebound. It wasn’t until April 2021 when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated people could travel safely at a lower risk to themselves and some schools didn’t fully return to in-person instruction until late that summer.

Immediately before the pandemic, Raleigh Exec was credited with $62.71 million in economic output and 490 jobs.

Despite the global economic challenges, Raleigh Exec remained a significant economic force in the region, and taxes generated from airport activity actually grew from the previous, pre-pandemic figures.

“The State of Aviation” estimated that Raleigh Exec contributed about $3.1 million in state and local taxes generated by individuals and businesses, up from $2.4 million in the previous report, and was responsible for $19 million in personal income generated by jobs on the airport grounds or supported by jetport activity, slightly down from $20.2 million.

Other current data provided by Raleigh Exec show expansion over the last two years. Last month there were 207 aircraft based at the jetport, up from 173 in January 2021, and 12 businesses operating on the grounds, one more than two years ago.

Statewide, publicly owned airports contribute $72 billion to the North Carolina economy and support 330,000 jobs. Those figures are generated by 10 airports with commercial passenger service and 62 general aviation airports that connect local businesses and communities to the world.

“What this shows is that Raleigh Exec remains a real, vital economic force across this entire region and the impact of this airport is still expanding,” said Bob Heuts, airport director for Raleigh Exec. “Even in the tough economic environment we had over the last couple of years, the number of aircraft and businesses here have been growing.

“And it also helps that we’re officially designated as a reliever airport for Raleigh-Durham International. Right now, commercial travel is booming at RDU, so their emphasis is shifting much more toward passenger service. As that continues, much more general aviation activity, things like moving cargo and travel by corporate jets, will move to airports like ours.”

The report contains data compiled and analyzed by the North Carolina State University’s Institute for Transportation Research and Education. Impacts are calculated based on factors such as jobs supported by the airports and the businesses that rely on them, business and leisure travelers, and airport capital projects and operations. The full report is available at ncdot.gov/aviation.

About Raleigh Exec

Billed as a premier corporate gateway to the Research Triangle, Raleigh Exec Jetport is a general aviation airport serving corporate and recreational flights in a region of central North Carolina that includes Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, Sanford and the Research Triangle Park. Raleigh Exec operates on 700 acres off of U.S. 1, just 15 miles from the Raleigh Outer Beltline, and is home to corporate aircraft, the North Carolina Forest Service, many aviation-related businesses and one of the nation’s largest and most respected flying clubs. More information is available at raleighexec.com.