May 10, 2010
On May 4, 2010, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire declared May as General Aviation (GA) Appreciation Month in the Evergreen State.
“General aviation plays a vital role in the state’s response to emergencies and natural disasters, and many communities depend on it for a continued flow of commerce and tourists,” the governor said. “It also means good jobs, business growth, access to medical care, disaster relief, law enforcement and a host of important other resources,” she said. “I urge all citizens to join me in this special observance.”
In Washington State, there are 116 aircraft repair stations, 64 fixed base operators, 59 charter flight companies and 24 flight schools that operate 181 aircraft. The state’s aviation infrastructure includes 141 public use GA airports that serve over 20,000 pilots.
Governor Gregoire’s proclamation last week emphasized that the 178,375 GA-related jobs in the state are a key part of the state’s economy, accounting for $140 million in wages, nearly $500 million in sales and over $3 billion in total impact. Those numbers were also a major factor in the state legislature’s decision last month to reject a proposed large tax increase on all aircraft owners.
Last week’’s proclamation by Governor Gregoire makes Washington the fifth state this year to designate a month to honor general aviation, following West Virginia, Kansas, Vermont and Tennessee.