Many of the current threats to general aviation stem from misperceptions of the industry, so AOPA is responding with its educational initiative, GA Serves America, said AOPA Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Andy Cebula on April 27.
GA pumps $150 billion into the U.S. economy each year and creates 1.2 million jobs, Cebula pointed out, but it faces serious challenges from legislators and regulators that could cause some, if not all, of that economic activity to grind to a halt. Cebula listed AOPA’s top concerns in comments during a roundtable on the state of GA at the American Association of Airport Executives General Aviation Issues Conference in Washington, D.C., on April 20.
At the top of the list are the Obama administration’s proposal to impose $7.5 billion in user fees and calls by the airlines for GA to “pay more” to support the FAA. Potential airport closures and flight restrictions further threaten GA, Cebula said, and the current economic crisis is adding pressures on communities to raise the price of using airports.
New security requirements on GA, being initiated by the Transportation Security Administration, are increasing anxiety about how far security officials will go to restrict GA operations, he added.
Tracing the threats to GA back to a misunderstanding of the industry by policymakers and opinion leaders, Cebula said AOPA launched the GA Serves America campaign to address misconceptions about GA. The campaign will augment AOPA’s existing advocacy efforts. He showed one of the first advertisements in the GA Serves America campaign, a video featuring actor and avid pilot Harrison Ford, who volunteered his time. Cebula also suggested what the GA community can do to get out the message of the important role aviation plays in the nation’s air transportation system.
For information: www.aopa.org/advocacy/articles/2009/090428gasa.html