SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) — Johnston County leaders gave their “State of Aviation” address and showed how the aviation industry is helping the county bounce back from the pandemic.

In Monday’s “State of Aviation” address, airport leaders discussed how air traffic at the Johnston Regional Airport dropped off significantly during the pandemic but now, those numbers are much stronger. County officials shared numbers from a new NCDOT’s new “State of Aviation” report, showing the Johnston Regional Airport generates $210 million for the local economy, along with 1,100 jobs and nearly $74.2 million in personal income throughout the county.

Airport director Phil Lanier said expansion and improvements plans are on the horizon, including pavement upgrades and creating more hangar space.

“We’ve run out of hangar space. There’s more hangars that need to be developed in order to accommodate the aircraft you see here and the aircrafts that are being requested to store here at the airport,” Lanier said.

Lanier mentioned one of their more long term goals is to extend the runway here at the airport. 

County leaders tell CBS 17 the airport is considered a reliever airport for RDU because it handles a lot of business and corporate flights that would normally fly there.