May 6, 2011

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D-CO) last week issued a proclamation declaring that June 2011 will be “General Aviation Appreciation Month” in the state. The action comes just over a month ahead of the Colorado Aviation Business Association’s (CABA) second annual “Aviation Saves” open house, which runs June 10-11 at Centennial Airport in Englewood, CO, near Denver.

The proclamation is one of several that have been issued by states across the country over the past year; this most recent declaration is the result of the efforts of numerous CABA volunteers, said Reggie Arsenault, CABA chairman and a senior manager for Jeppesen.

“We are very proud of this achievement for our membership and for our industry in the state,” said Arsenault. “The proclamation represents a public acknowledgement by Colorado’s government in recognizing the vital contribution all general aviation, including business aviation, provides to our state’s economy. CABA has made it our mission to educate the public, the media, and our public officials, and approval of the proclamation is an important aspect in delivering on our mission.”

The proclamation cites a number of impressive statistics that underscore how general aviation positively impacts the state; among them that Colorado, “is home to 75 airports, which serve 24,118 pilots and 8,074 general aviation aircraft,” and that the state’s general aviation airports, “contribute $2.1 billion, or $479 per capita, to the state’s economy annually.”

Elsewhere, the proclamation says, “general aviation sustains 22,650 jobs and a payroll of nearly $750 million.” It also says that, “Colorado is home to 40 charter flight companies, 69 repair stations, and 16 flight schools operating 141 aircraft and providing 212 jobs.”

The proclamation also says that, “many communities in Colorado depend heavily on general aviation and community airports for the continued flow of commerce, tourists and visitors to our state.”

Arsenault also credited the nonprofit group, Alliance for Aviation Across America, for helping draft the proclamation language along with Rebecca Hargis, a CABA volunteer. “Governor Hickenlooper’s office was very cooperative and supportive of our request and the final proclamation was approved quickly,” Arsenault said.

With its proclamation, Colorado becomes the 22nd state to recognize the value of general aviation, following similar declarations issued in Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

As with other states’ proclamations, the achievements and goals expressed in Colorado’s declaration echo the central themes of the “No Gain No Plane” campaign, jointly sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.