Wed, May 05, 2010
Airport Officials See Job Creation As A Key Component To
With its heritage as the oldest
continuous European settlement in the U.S., St. Augustine was for
centuries a gateway to commerce in Northeast Florida. The St.
Augustine-St. Johns County Airport Authority seeks to reclaim that
heritages by developing the airport as the economic gateway to
Northeast Florida. The first public step in this carefully crafted
business plan is renaming the St. Augustine Airport (KSGJ)
the Northeast Florida Regional Airport at St.
This is a pivotal time for the Northeast Florida Regional Airport
as it transitions into a regional business asset that further
enhances our local economy. The name change is part of the
Authority's strategy to fully develop the airport's considerable
potential to boost local economic growth by attracting more
aviation-related businesses, more businesses demanding excellent
air access, and more travelers. About 4.4 million people are within
an hour's drive of Northeast Florida Regional Airport at St.
"St. Augustine Airport is often seen as a local airport serving a
small community. We are neither," says Airport Authority Board
Chairperson Kelly Barrera. "The Northeast Florida Regional Airport
at St. Augustine is a major airport located in the center of a
dynamic region of Florida that is home to millions and is the
destination for even more tourists. We provide this region with
world-class aviation services and unparalleled convenience, both
highly marketable premiums."
Job creation is a key component of the rebranding effort.
Northrop Grumman's manufacturing operations at the airport make it
the largest for-profit employer in St. Johns County. The airport
and its tenants create more than 2,000 jobs and generate half a
billion dollars in annual economic benefit to the area.
"But the airport's growth potential is much greater," says Nick
Sacia, Executive Director of the Economic Development Council at
the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce. "The new name, Northeast
Florida Regional Airport at St. Augustine, is a great branding move
that says exactly where we are in the state while reflecting the
airport's true size and capabilities. This will be a strong engine
of economic growth for the county and the region."
The Authority's business plan looks forward to attracting
commercial carriers, such as the previous Skybus flights. Equally
important factors in the business plan are attracting additional
aviation businesses as tenants and promoting the airport to
businesses that can benefit from the more efficient and less
expensive access to the Northeast Florida market that the airport
"We want businesses and the traveling public to know that there are
two airports that service Northeast Florida," says Robin
Burchfield, President of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce.
"And the Northeast Florida Regional Airport at St. Augustine is the
one they want to use."
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