By Bob Weiss, CBSBoston.com Travel Contributor


BOSTON (CBS) – The aviation business is big in Massachusetts and getting bigger at the state’s 29 public-use airports.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation economic impact study update completed in 2014 showed that $16.6 billion was added to the state’s economy in aviation-related activities.

The total payroll was estimated at $6.1 billion representing more than 162,000 jobs.

Nine regional airports are listed as commercial in the study.

JetBlue flies into six of these airports and Cape Air has scheduled service to five.

Logan Airport accounts for the largest impact and has shown strong growth in international arrivals and departures in the last two years. The Boston airport has about 132,000 jobs and more than $13 billion of the total $16.6 billion added to the state’s economy.

Three new international airlines will start flights from Logan later this year.

Thirty airports are listed handling general aviation accounting for about $170 million added to the state’s economy.

Air charter and related maintenance work account for much of the $100 million coming into Massachusetts. With the end of the recession, charter flights are again showing strong growth.

The Bay State is currently home to 37 airport-based flight schools and Bridgewater State has the largest college aviation program in New England.

This summer, many regional airports will host open houses for the public. The largest event will be the air show at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee during the weekend of May 16. It will mark the 75th anniversary of the base and feature performances by the Blue Angels flying team.

The military staffs four bases in Massachusetts, home to 18,100 workers and bringing $1.7 billion into the economy.

Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford accounts for more than half of that activity. Massport runs the general aviation part of that airport.

Bob Weiss reports on business travel on Mondays at 5:55 a.m. on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

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