August 8, 2013
Making a personal appearance last week at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA’s) AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker proclaimed July 29 through Aug. 4, 2013, Aviation Week in the Badger State. That announcement came the same day as a proclamation from Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, officially making August 2013 General Aviation (GA) Appreciation Month in his state.
In his proclamation, Walker noted that aviation and airports generate about $7 billion annually in economic activity and supports 90,000 jobs, which provide $3.5 billion in personal income to Wisconsin residents. Wisconsin’s 133 public-use airports accommodate about 5.5 million passengers, according to the proclamation. Walker issued a similar proclamation in 2012, and his predecessor Gov. Jim Doyle recognized the value of GA in 2010.
“Aviation not only drives Wisconsin’s economy, it improves our overall quality of life by providing vital emergency medical transportation, enhancing public safety by assisting law enforcement and transporting leisure travelers to their destinations quickly and safely,” Walker noted in his proclamation.
Walker added emphasis to his proclamation this year with a visit on July 31 to AirVenture, held annually in Oshkosh, WI, where NBAA Members and staff were in attendance.
“The more than 500,000 aviation enthusiasts who attend the event each year boost our state’s economy with more than $110 million during this week-long event,” said Walker. “I am proud that Wisconsin hosts such an exciting event, drawing tourists from across the country and around the world to our state.”
In Arkansas, where there are 90 public-use airports, Beebe said in his proclamation, “Many businesses and communities depend upon GA and community airports for the continued flow of commerce, tourists and visitors to our state. I urge my fellow citizens to join me in acknowledging the vital role aviation plays in our area.”
There are more than 8,000 registered pilots in Arkansas. Beebe noted that the state’s Airports System Plan shows that by 2025, the number of aircraft based in the state will surpass 3,600 and aircraft operations will exceed $2.8 million.
“GA in Arkansas accounts for nearly $500 million in annual economic activity, and airports employ some 5,400 people receiving a payroll total of $133.4 million,” said Steve Hadley, NBAA’s regional representative for the Southwest. “Since Arkansas is predominately rural, quick and efficient business transportation by aircraft is essential.”
Nearly all U.S. states 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.