May 31, 2012

Facts, figures and earnest testimonials in a new video leave no doubt about the value of general aviation (GA) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a state where more than 100 NBAA Member Companies are based. The nearly nine-minute presentation, titled Massachusetts Aviation: Our Link to Economic Prosperity, was produced earlier this year by the MassDOT Aeronautics Division with help from both NBAA and the Massachusetts Business Aviation Association.

“Not everyone in Massachusetts yet understands how much GA, particularly business aviation, contributes to the state’s economy and its overall quality of life,” said Chris Willenborg, administrator of the Aeronautics Division. “This video is another tool for the Aeronautics Division staff and airport managers to use in educating our state legislative leaders, business leaders and the general public about the important economic impacts of aviation.”

The video cites statistics from the 2011 Massachusetts Statewide Airport Economic Impact Study (4.2 MB, PDF), which suggest that the total economic impact of public-use airports in Massachusetts is $11.9 billion, including almost $5 billion in payroll from 124,369 aviation-related jobs. Interviewees include airport managers, a city mayor, MassDOT Executive Director Richard A. Davey, Gulfstream Aerospace executive Fran Ahern, FAA Regional Administrator Amy Lind Corbett and State Representative Donald F. Humason, Jr.

“We’re able to open up our county through this airport,” declared former Mayor James M. Ruberto of Pittsfield, a city of almost 45,000 in western Massachusetts. “We’re able to see businessmen … be able to conduct their business in an efficient and economical way.”

Other state and local officials interviewed spoke convincingly of the employment generated, the economic benefits to local communities and the benefit of tourists who spend on hotels, restaurants, retail and entertainment while visiting.

“This is a transportation hub for western Massachusetts,” said Humason, co-chair of the Massachusetts Legislative Aviation Caucus, as he was interviewed at Westfield’s Barnes Municipal Airport. “If our community didn’t have an airfield, we wouldn’t have businesses like this. And without businesses, there go the jobs, there goes the factory, there go the other benefits of having an airport.” The large Gulfstream Aerospace facility at Westfield, one of the four maintenance operations at the airport, has just broken ground on a new expansion project that will double its size.

As the video closes, all types of GA aircraft fly across the screen while the announcer intones, “From the Berkshires to the Cape and Islands, the airport system is a vital economic engine that helps to preserve and improve the overall quality of life in Massachusetts. Our airports provide connectivity to worldwide markets and destinations, helping to sustain the Bay State’s rapidly expanding business community and its world-renowned tourist destinations.”

“I commend Director of Aviation Chris Willenborg, Secretary of Transportation Davey and Representative Humason for having the foresight to produce an educational video that citizens can understand and that presents the economic benefits of aviation, particularly business aviation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said NBAA Northeast Regional Representative Dean Saucier.