March 27, 2012
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon reaffirmed his support of general aviation (GA) in Missouri this month with a proclamation declaring March as “General Aviation Appreciation Month.” The governor issued a similar proclamation last year, which made the Show Me State the 21st to officially recognize the value of GA, particularly business aviation, since the beginning of the “No Plane No Gain” campaign in 2009.
In his proclamation, Governor Nixon said business aircraft have a critical role in responding to emergencies or natural disasters. In fact, in the first three weeks of this year’s GA Appreciation Month alone, medical evacuation helicopters rescued at least three people in the state, including a man who fell from a 75-foot cliff.
The governor signed the proclamation in a ceremony at the state capitol of Jefferson City on March 22 in front of members of the Missouri Aviation Advisory Committee.
“Governor Nixon is well aware that business aviation supports jobs and the economy in Missouri, just like it does elsewhere,” said Ed Bolen, NBAA President and CEO. “His official recognition of GA for the second year in a row is a ‘Show Me’ affirmation that the business aviation community greatly appreciates.” Some 120 NBAA Member companies are based in Missouri.
The proclamation notes that GA activity adds about $2.4 billion dollars to the state’s economy each year, averaging $437 for every man, woman and child, and employs about 16,000 workers. Nationally, GA activity contributes about $150 billion to the economy.
The state is also home to more than 10,000 active GA pilots. More than 6,800 aircraft, ranging from light single-engine piston airplanes to business jets, are based in Missouri.
Governor Nixon praised Missouri’s 131 public-use GA airports, which are strategically located around the state, most near smaller communities. These facilities enable business and personal travelers to access the national air transportation network, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “Many communities in Missouri depend heavily on GA and community airports for the continued flow of commerce, tourists and visitors to our state,” the governor said.
The GA Appreciation Month proclamations were not the first evidence of Governor Nixon’s commitment to business aviation. In 2009, the governor personally broke ground on a $3.5 million new airport terminal and hangar project at the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City, which serves GA exclusively. At that ceremony, Governor Nixon said, “An upgraded Wheeler Downtown Airport has the potential to serve as an exciting tool for economic development in Kansas City and the entire region, resulting in new jobs for hard-working Missourians.”
Since the coordinated campaign to educate state political leaders about the value of GA started in 2009, 37 states have formally recognized the importance of business flying. In addition to Missouri, they include Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Each state’s proclamation has followed the themes of the national No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.