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West Virginia Declares General Aviation a 'Vital Strategic Resource'

August 11, 2011

West Virginia once again proclaimed the value of all general aviation (GA), including business aviation, on July 26 when Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) declared August 2011 "General Aviation Appreciation Month" in the Mountain State.

Governor Tomblin's predecessor, Joe Manchin (D), was one of the first state leaders to publicly recognize the value of general aviation – including business aviation – in December 2009.

Governor Tomblin's proclamation states that GA airplanes and airports "play a critical role in the lives of our citizens, businesses, communities and the state of West Virginia." In proclaiming General Aviation Appreciation Month, the governor seeks to "encourage all citizens to recognize the vital strategic resource that aviation is in West Virginia."

The proclamation, which was announced at the West Virginia Aviation Conference held last week, was presented to NBAA Senior Vice President, Lisa Piccione, by the state's Department of Transportation Secretary, Paul Maddox.

"Governor Tomblin clearly recognizes the importance of business flying to companies and communities in the Mountain State," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "For the mountainous and rural communities of West Virginia, business aviation is a critical link to national and international commerce, not to mention emergency services."

The governor's proclamation emphasizes this critical link, echoing the themes of the "No Plane No Gain" advocacy campaign jointly sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

"Given our state's geography," said Tomblin, "a great many businesses and communities depend upon general aviation aircraft and small aircraft of all types for access to medical treatment, mobility, economic opportunity, disaster relief and a wide range of critical resources." He further noted that West Virginia has 33 public airports, "enabling businesses to remain part of the nation's air transportation system and connected to the world's global marketplace."

General aviation contributes $616 million to the West Virginia state economy, or as the proclamation notes, $333 per capita.

In all, 29 states have made official declarations of the importance of business aviation to their citizens, companies and communities. Review a sample of state proclamations.

View the proclamation by West Virginia Governor Tomblin declaring August 2011 "General Aviation Appreciation Month."