The Sept. 17 USA Today article, “Feds keep little-used airports in business,” has drawn ire from aviation largest pilot group.
Craig Fuller, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said the story is “completely devoid of journalistic balance that fails to acknowledge the millions of Americans who benefit from the nation’s 5,200 general aviation airports every day.
“The article cites statistics on airport spending but gives only part of the story,” he continued. “It completely ignores the fact that Congress regularly allocates far more for air carrier airports than for general aviation airports. For instance, in 2007, general aviation airports receiving money got an average of $750,000 for improvements while commercial air carrier airports that received funding got an average of $5.5 million each — more than seven times the amount awarded to smaller fields!
“The story talks about the woes of commercial travel but fails to note that the thousands of flights made each day from small general aviation airports nationwide are actually relieving those problems. In fact, if our country’s general aviation airports were to close, those flights would be forced to operate out of our already overcrowded air carrier airports, increasing delays, slowing traffic, and extending security lines.
“General aviation pilots and passengers fly for exactly the same reasons as commercial travelers — to conduct business, visit family and friends, and take vacations. But private pilots and airplanes also fly thousands of hours in volunteer efforts including medical transport, humanitarian relief, and search and rescue operations.
“Having convenient access to small airports in communities around the country is as vital to our national transportation system as having highway off-ramps in small towns. To suggest that smaller airports are not needed is just like suggesting that we should have a road system that connects only the country’s 150 largest cities. The truth is that small airports do bring business, jobs, and services — including disaster relief, package delivery, firefighting capability, law enforcement, and emergency medical transportation — to thousands of communities nationwide every day. And that’s good for America.”
Steve Petrich says
Thomas Frankâ€™s article (USA Today 9/17/09) ranks amongst the worst
pieces of journalism that I have read in my 56 years! Obviously, he
knows little to nothing about general aviation, let alone the aviation
industry as a whole. He did not get the picture at all. What makes it
worse is that the editor put this piece of garbage on the front page!
Sadly, to others that also know little about this subject, it was full
of enough facts and figures to sound convincing. It is no wonder why
the mainstream media is in trouble these days as they frequently
report sensational stories without knowing all the details.
Perhaps Mr. Frank should look into the thousands of miles of the bike
paths that have been built across the country. They are horribly
underused. Come to think of it, they have cost the taxpayers plenty.
Maybe I am missing something, but I am not aware of a single federal
or state license or user fee in place for these feel-good projects. Better yet, based on his misled logic, let’s only have freeways and close the state highways and side roads.
I am done reading USA (Socialism) Today and certainly wonâ€™t ride on a
Mesa Airlines flight either.
Brad Johnson says
This is a continuation of the demonization of the wealthy class and attempt to redistribute wealth for Democratic party political gain. Their thought process is “if they own an airplane then they must be wealthy, if they’re wealthy then they must be a Republican”. The political left don’t care if they cripple an industry and don’t care how many general aviation support jobs are lost to further their political agenda. They care more about politics than jobs.
Charlie White says
I was FURRIOUS when I watched NBC’s TODAY SHOW where this article was annouced. Totally a one-sided article which does not meet the facts required for true journalism (who, what, when, where, why, and how much) without editorizing.