May 24, 2010
As a recent event at Westchester County Airport in New York demonstrated, policymakers at all levels of government continue to stand and be counted in support of business aviation.
At May 20, 2010, event hosted by the Westchester Aviation Association (WAA) and attended by NBAA representatives, County Executive Rob Astorino offered a proclamation highlighting the connection between the local airport and the creation of local jobs, economic growth and investment.
In presenting the proclamation, Astorino said “Our airport is clearly a tool that promotes economic development. The airport is home to more than 80 businesses, employs 1,300 people and contributes $649 million to the local economy.” Astorino’s proclamation urges local, state and federal officials to “pursue policies that will continue to support our local aviation infrastructure and allow it to prosper.”
In his remarks, Astorino went on to specifically point out the importance of business aviation in Westchester county, noting that local companies use business aircraft “to shrink the distance between them and their customers – whether the customers are located out of the state, or out of the country.”
Jeff Lee, the Westchester Aviation Association’s President and a member of NBAA’s Board of Directors, said the partnership between the Association, local government and the residents in the surrounding community has been key to the development of the airport. Noise and safety issues had been concerns for residents near the airport, but the Association established self-imposed noise-abatement procedures and training seminars to ease concerns and improve operations.
“This airport spurs jobs and brings business into the area,” Lee said. “So we reached out to the community and tried to find the common ground between local citizens’ concerns and airport operations. Now, instead of having an adversarial relationship, everyone is working together and this airport will continue to be a benefit to the community.”
Last week’s presentation of the Westchester County proclamation comes on the heels of similar decrees issued elsewhere, which highlight the value of general aviation, including business aviation. In recent months, governors in Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, North Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington State have issued proclamations recognizing business aviation and often echoing themes articulated through the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, jointly sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.