NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – Coastal Carolina Regional Airport is bringing in big money to the state and to the area.

It brought in more than $500 million last year alone, according to a report by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The airport director said that he’s proud of the recent report and the airport’s ability to not only serve but benefit the community as a whole.

“We are proud to be part of our community, not only for the access to air travel but also by supporting good jobs and creating significant state and local economic impact,” Airport Director Andy Shorter said. “Our airport is within a 30-minute drive for more than 120,000 area residents and we’re glad they turn to us for their air travel needs.”

The report also helps guide future investment in aviation infrastructure and provide a tool for recruiting aviation and aerospace industry companies and investment, according to NCDOT.

“North Carolina’s aviation system continues driving the economy by connecting people, companies and communities to markets and destinations worldwide,” said Bobby Walston, director of NCDOT’s Division of Aviation.

Shorter said he expects the economic impact to continue to grow with the upcoming continuation of the seasonal, non-stop flights between EWN and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the major terminal expansion project that is underway and the runway improvement project that is just kicking off.

“We expect the added flights and the new improvements we’re making to strengthen the airport’s long-term appeal and functionality for airlines and passengers alike,” he said.

Also in the past two years, EWN completed or initiated a number of other key projects that will help the airport grow into the future including: the new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) facility and a commercial aircraft hangar facility.