Edward R. Wuellner, Executive Director of the St. Augustine-St. Johns County Airport Authority updated local news reporters with Historic City News on plans to develop 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 the Northeast Florida Regional Airport at St. Augustine.
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. Augustine.
“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 offers.
“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.”