A major step to informing the public of general aviation’s value was taken Sept. 30 when the Alliance for Aviation Across America launched a new website that highlights the economic impact and importance of general aviation and its airports state-by-state across America.
Alliance officials hope the new website will help dispel much of the negative media and public opinion general aviation has faced in recent months.
The website features a map of the United States. Clicking on a particular state reveals the economic impact GA has in that state. The map details specific jobs, aviation-related business in each state, the economic impact this brings, and information about airports in each state. It also includes information on Congressional districts.
The Alliance conducted a study over the past six to seven months, gathering data from each state. One of the main objectives, according to Alliance officials, is to inform local communities of how much they gain from local airports and non-airline flying.
The Alliance launched its new site with a teleconference attended by several key individuals speaking out on the importance of flying. Representative Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) opened the comments, declaring that Congress has been partly to blame for the negative feelings about general aviation in recent months. He called general aviation a “real plus” for the United States and deplored the incorrect information that has been released about it. He then cited specific examples of how private and business aircraft serve the nation, from helping to keep businesses operating to police and fire work.
Others on the teleconference were Niel Ritchie of the League of Rural Voters, Leroy Watson of The National Grange, Karen Kerrigan of the Small Business Entrepreneurship Council, Henry Ogrodzinski, president of the National Association of State Aviation Officials, and Carl Brewer, mayor of Wichita
Brewer was quoted in the Air Capital Insider, a “Wichita Eagle” blog, as saying: “Transportation is part of doing business, no matter where you are in the world. In Business 101, they teach you that time is money.”
DID YOU KNOW?
According to the Alliance’s economic impact map, there are 5,261 public-use airports that can be directly accessed by general aviation — more than 10 times the number of airports served by scheduled airlines.
According to the FAA, there are nearly 600,000 pilots in the U.S. The vast majority of these pilots fly general aviation aircraft.
In 2005, a study by Merge Global, Inc. concluded that employment from GA totaled 1.265 million jobs. That same study pegged the national total economic contribution of GA at $150 billion annually.
Additional economic impact can be inferred from the 2,200 charter flight companies, 4,144 repair stations, and 569 flight schools operating 4,653 aircraft. At the time of the study, there were 3,330 FBOs, 18 “fractional” ownership providers and 261,806 airframe and powerplant specialists.
For more information: AviationAcrossAmerica.org.