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Gov Patrick, New Bedford Airport, November 15, 2011Governor Deval Patrick today visited Bridgewater State University's Aviation Training Facility located at the New Bedford Regional Airport to announce the results of a comprehensive statewide airport economic impact study that finds Massachusetts public airports generate $11.9 billion in economic activity and support approximately 124,000 jobs.

After touring the training facility, Governor Patrick proclaimed the month of November as "General Aviation Month."

The Statewide Airport Economic Impact Study completed by MassDOT Aeronautics Division with the assistance of the Federal Aviation Administration measured the total economic impact of the 39 public-use airports in Massachusetts, including Boston Logan International Airport. The airports’ $11.9 billion in economic activity and 124,000 related jobs reflects commercial airline service, military aviation, emergency law enforcement and medical transport activity and general aviation.  

The Administration's investments in state airports also includes a $7 million grant awarded by MassDOT's Aeronautics Division to the city of New Bedford to help supports its ongoing $17 million New Bedford Regional Airport runway safety project, which is also supported by federal funding. The project began in 2010 with completion expected in 2013.

“The funds supporting this project in New Bedford will improve safety for all aviation users, including the Bridgewater State University flight instructors and the student pilots,” said Christopher Willenborg, MassDOT Aeronautics Division administrator. 

The Bridgewater State program established in 1981 offers a four year Bachelors of Science in Aviation Management that includes flight training. Currently, there are approximately 140 students in the aviation management program.    

The MassDOT Board of Directors in the past two years has approved additional infrastructure investments in the Commonwealth's airports, including a $13.4 million grant for runway extension and safety at the Pittsfield Municipal Airport and $13.1 million toward a new terminal building at Barnstable Municipal Airport, in addition to annual ongoing airport maintenance improvement projects statewide.

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