June 9, 2011
Florida Governor Rick Scott has proclaimed June, 2011 as General Aviation (GA) Appreciation Month. “Aviation plays a huge role in Florida’s economy,” said the governor in his proclamation, signed June 7.
Governor Scott acknowledged the importance of business flying in the state, citing its “critical role in the lives of our citizens, as well as in the operation of our businesses and farms.” He said the state has a “significant interest” in the continued vitality of the sector, citing the number of aerospace and aircraft manufacturing companies, flight-centric educational institutions and airport operators.
“We appreciate Governor Scott’s proclamation of GA Appreciation Month,” said Ed Bolen, NBAA President and CEO. “His state has substantial aircraft manufacturing, including Piper Aircraft, Piaggio, Embraer, Rockwell Collins and Avidyne. It’s also the home of many NBAA member companies, and in recent years has been an outstanding host to NBAA’s Annual Meeting & Convention.”
According to FAA statistics, some 50,000 active pilots call Florida home, making the Sunshine State second only to California in pilot population. The state also hosts several major flight training centers and has 129 public use airports, the vast majority GA-only. The GA payroll in Florida is $1.8 billion, and GA flying contributes about $6 billion annually to the state’s economy.
With nearly ideal flying weather much of the year, Florida is rich in aviation service businesses, including some 190 charter companies, 517 FAA repair stations and 74 flight schools operating 858 aircraft and employing 3,500 people directly. A total of 154 fixed base operators operate in Florida.
“Many communities in Florida depend heavily on general aviation and community airports,” said Governor Scott, “for the continued flow of commerce, tourists and visitors. In addition, (GA) plays a vital role in the state’s response to emergencies and natural disasters.”
Florida is the 27th state to proclaim a special day or month recognizing the value of business flying. All declarations have echoed themes put forward through the “No Plane, No Gain” advocacy campaign jointly sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
Other elected officials in Florida have recognized the importance of business aviation to the state. In an interview featured in the March-April 2010 edition of Business Aviation Insider, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), a fifth-generation Floridian, highlighted the value of business aviation in his state, noting: “Florida is a big state, and it can take a whole day to get from one end to the other. Aviation really puts a dent in that travel time. With an airplane, a business based in Pensacola can do a meeting in Key West and…serve more clients in less time, be more productive and more flexible.” Read the full interview.