August 29, 2013
Mayors of three Arkansas cities with small community airports have supported Gov. Mike Beebe’s proclamation of General Aviation (GA) Appreciation Month in August 2013 by releasing their own proclamations. In Beebe’s announcement, he said aviation and aircraft manufacturing “play a critical role in the lives of our citizens as well as in the operation of our businesses and farms.”
Following that statewide pronouncement, Mayor Rick Elumbaugh of Batesville, Mayor Bob McCaslin of Bentonville and Mayor Stewart Nelson of Morrilton, all issued official statements of their own, affirming the value of general aviation – including business aviation – in their communities. Batesville, Bentonville and Morrilton all have small airports serving general aviation within two miles of their cities’ central business districts, and together handle more than 65,000 takeoffs and landings a year.
“Our Morrilton airport has grown, expanded in the last 15 years…a repair station and additional hangars and contributes to the economic welfare of the city of Morrilton,” said Nelson, adding that GA across the state employs some 5,400 people with a payroll of $133.4 million.
Although Arkansas has 90 registered public-use airports, less than 9 percent are capable of supporting commercial airline service, and only one has regularly scheduled major airline service. GA is a proven lifeline for small and medium-size cities and towns such as Batesville, Bentonville and Morrilton.
“Mayors Elumbaugh, McCaslin and Nelson are all keenly aware of how their airports allow quick and efficient delivery of goods and services. We thank all three for their support of GA and business flying,” said Steve Hadley, NBAA southwest regional representative.
Statewide, GA in Arkansas accounts for nearly $500 million in economic activity. There are more than 8,000 FAA-certificated pilots and 3,028 aircraft ranging from single-engine piston aircraft to business jets.
Nearly all U.S. states, along with many cities and towns, have officially recognized the value of GA, including business aviation, with all proclamations including at least some of the basic tenets of the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, which was launched in 2009 and is sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.