Feb. 22, 2010

BURLINGTON, VT – In recent months, several state and local government officials, including those in West Virginia, Georgia and Kentucky, have issued statements recognizing the value of all aviation, including business aviation, to economic development.

Vermont recently joined their ranks when Governor Jim Douglas proclaimed February Aviation and Aerospace Appreciation Month at a Vermont Aerospace and Aviation Association (VAAA) open house at the Burlington International Airport.

More than 250 people – including NBAA representatives, government officials and officials with other general aviation (GA) associations – attended the event at Heritage Aviation where the governor highlighted the value of aviation to the state.

“The aerospace industry is an important supplier of good jobs in Vermont,” said Gov. Douglas. “I am proud to support the continuing evolution of the aerospace sector in our state.”

The large attendance and remarks from Douglas and Lt. Governor Brian Dubie underscored the central role aviation plays in the state. “It was remarkable to see so many people who truly understand that business aviation means jobs and economic activity for the state,” NBAA Communications Manager Patrick Dunne said.

Dubie said that Vermont officials looked forward to working with NBAA and other aviation associations to promote and help develop GA growth in the state. He founded the VAAA in 2006 and also serves as National Chair of the Aerospace States Association. “Our national security, our economic vitality, and our national mobility rely on a strong aerospace and aviation sector. Similarly, Vermont’s aviation sector plays a vital role in our state’s economic well-being and public safety,” he said.

Selena Shilad, executive director of the Alliance for Aviation Across America, was also on hand with figures that show GA’s impact on Vermont’s economy. “General Aviation provides a lifeline to small communities, farms, and business by providing them with needed access to emergency medical services, economic development and mobility,” she said. GA alone contributes $274 million, or $430 per capita, to Vermont’s economy annually. The state has 16 public-use airports, 1,350 pilots and 877 general aviation aircraft.