Today, more than 2,000 general aviation workers, state and local officials, and industry leaders gathered in Wichita for a general aviation rally.
The event, held at Cessna Aircraft Co., was organized by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) in partnership with Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft, Bombardier Learjet and general aviation suppliers throughout Kansas.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Governor Sam Brownback, Senator Jerry Moran, and Congressman Mike Pompeo recognized general aviation’s tremendous impact on the state of Kansas as each spoke to the large crowd. The GA industry contributes more than $7 billion annually to the state’s economy and GAMA member companies employ more than 17,000 Kansans, GAMA officials said.
“For America to compete and win in the 21st century’s global economy, our businesses need to out-innovate and out-build the rest of the world,” LaHood said. “That’s exactly what is happening here in Wichita, where thousands of aviation workers are designing the next generation of aircraft. The general aviation industry already supports 1.2 million jobs across America and contributes more than $150 billion to the nation’s economy. And I believe the industry’s efforts are crucial to President Obama’s goal of doubling exports within five years – just as they’re essential to keeping America on trajectory toward economic recovery.”
Jack Pelton, chairman, president and CEO of Cessna, added, “It is vital that industry and government work together to ensure that laws and regulations promote manufacturing, resulting in greater economic stability, industry investment and jobs. We are appreciative that these national leaders have come to view the tremendous products built here in Wichita and meet thousands of Kansans who produce them.”
Hawker Beechcraft’s Bill Brown, executive vice president of Global Operations, stated, “Our industry is a powerful source of over 1.2 million high-paying, technical jobs with thousands of those right here in Kansas. The area’s highly skilled work force and our high quality, diverse positions have proved a successful combination for the local and state economy. As the economy recovers, general aviation will continue to be a source of great jobs for Kansans.”
David Coleal, vice president and general manager of Bombardier Learjet, said, “Bombardier Learjet is proud to contribute to Kansas’ number one ranking in U.S. general aviation exports. Even during a severe economic downturn, the GA industry remains one of the only sectors in U.S. manufacturing that still contributes positively to the balance of trade. This underscores the critical role that general aviation can play in growing U.S. exports.”
Pete Bunce, president and CEO of GAMA, concluded with, “The Kansas rally today served as a tremendous opportunity to showcase our industry to the administration. The fabric of general aviation touches thousands of communities across North America and is rapidly expanding to all parts of the world. This industry is an economic engine of growth and needs to be promoted and nurtured by our elected officials at every opportunity. It is very important to general aviation that Secretary LaHood, Governor Brownback, Senator Moran, and Congressman Pompeo recognized GA’s tremendous impact in Kansas.”