Air Georgia takes off

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has launched AirGeorgia, an airport infrastructure improvement program aimed at rural GA airports across the Peach State.

Perdue, a pilot who owns a Bellanca, is a staunch supporter of aviation. His latest effort is a financing program aimed at completing critical infrastruture improvements necessary to upgrade many of Georgia’s rural GA airports, he said.

“The goal of AirGeorgia is to extend rural airport runways to at least 5,000 feet, placing every Georgian within a 30-minute drive of an airport capable of serving 85% of the corporate aircraft flying today,” Perdue said.

“Air transportation is the preferred choice for business and industry decision makers in the 21st century economy,” he continued. “Our economic development efforts will benefit greatly from accessible rural airports throughout Georgia. Rural airports also enhance tourism opportunities, expedite access to emergency healthcare services and support the transportation needs of entrepreneurs and small business owners.”

The initiative was spurred by Perdue’s desire to enhance Georgia’s marketability for economic growth and new job opportunities, explained Heather Hedrick, the governor’s press secretary. “He saw this as an opportunity to build rural Georgia’s reputation as a destination for new business and commerce across the world,” she said.

The initiative is targeted at 49 airports in Georgia. Starting with initial funding of $15 million, the funds will be used to “accelerate a number of projects, including runway extensions, installation of navigational aids, weather reporting stations and other projects deemed necessary to increase accessibility of Georgia’s rural airports and communities,” the governor said.

Deadline for applications is Sept. 29. While no applications had been received about a month after the initiative was announced, “we’ve received lots of questions about the application, indicating a lot of interest,” Hedrick said. “We anticipate the applications will come in closer to the deadline.”

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