August 29, 2012

On Aug. 21, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin declared Aviation and Aerospace Appreciation Month in the Sooner State. With that proclamation, Oklahoma became the 42nd state to officially recognize the vital role of all general aviation, including business aviation, in creating jobs, boosting business productivity and acting as a lifeline for small and medium-size cities.

“General aviation (GA) has an estimated $1.2 billion economic impact in Oklahoma, boasting nearly 8,000 pilots and 11,000 aircraft,” the governor said in her proclamation. “Oklahoma also has 139 public-use GA airports.” She also noted the state‘s noteworthy aviation heritage, which includes hosting Clyde Cessna at the start of his career and being home base for Wiley Post, who twice set the world record for flying around the world, discovered the jet stream and invented what would become the first space suit.

Review the Oklahoma Proclamation (130KB, PDF)

Aviation and aerospace jobs in Oklahoma pay nearly twice as much – $54,719 annually – as the median salary in the state. The state is home to more than 600 aerospace companies, as well as the FAA‘s Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, where 7,500 Oklahomans are employed. That facility trains thousands of air traffic controllers and other FAA employees every year.

“Our major employers use our airports,” said Victor Bird, the director of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission. “Time is money, and efficiencies gained by using general aviation far exceed any other form of transportation. This is nothing new – decades ago, a number of Oklahoma businessmen were the first users of general aviation. Business comes calling in a plane.”

Although only three cities in Oklahoma have scheduled airline service, economic development officials say that about 97 percent of Oklahoma‘s 3.8 million people live within 25 miles of one of the state‘s 49 airports.

“The governor‘s proclamation shows her knowledge of how business aviation is essential to Oklahoma‘s economy, job creation and support for communities,” said NBAA Regional Program Director and Southwest Region Representative Steve Hadley. “It‘s all about access and getting to the destination as efficiently as possible, especially in the small and medium-size cities.”

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen thanked Fallin for her proclamation and ongoing support of business aviation. He noted that she was one of three state governors who earlier this year wrote an individual letter to President Obama asking him to reconsider his proposed $100 per flight user fee on general aviation aircraft. Review Governor Fallin‘s letter to President Obama.

Fallin‘s Aviation and Aerospace Appreciation Month proclamation adds Oklahoma to the list of states that have officially recognized GA‘s value. They are: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.