Aug. 18, 2015
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner recently took the opportunity to discuss the economic importance of general aviation (GA) to his state during a tour of StandardAero’s aviation maintenance facility at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport (SPI) in Springfield. IL.
“The aerospace industry is booming, it’s thriving and you are at the tip of the spear,” the governor told employees at the gas turbine maintenance, repair and overhaul facility during his Aug. 11 visit. “What I’m seeing here is incredibly impressive. You’re what America is all about. You’re what Illinois is all about.”
General aviation is a significant factor in the Illinois economy, supporting an estimated 42,400 jobs – the fifth-largest statewide total of jobs attributable to GA in the U.S., according to a 2013 PricewaterhouseCoopers study funded by eight aviation groups, including NBAA. The industry generates more than $9.1 billion in economic output in Illinois annually. The Land of Lincoln is also home to 98 public-use general aviation airports, supporting 5,600 active GA aircraft and more than 14,000 pilots.
StandardAero CEO Russell Ford and other company executives gave Gov. Rauner a tour of the facility, which came following a request from the governor’s office. “We are poised for growth here in Springfield and in full hiring mode to get the people in place to support the strong pipeline of business,” said Ford.
Emphasizing the GA industry’s importance to local, state, and national lawmakers is a hallmark of the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, co-sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Since 2009, elected officials in all 50 states have issued hundreds of official proclamations in recognition of the social and economic contributions of general aviation.
In 2013, then-Gov. Pat Quinn called GA a “vital strategic resource” in proclaiming June as General Aviation Appreciation Month in Illinois. Gov. Quinn issued a similar proclamation in June 2014, which noted “many communities in Illinois depend heavily on general aviation and community airports for the continued flow of commerce, tourists and visitors to our state.”
The importance of GA hasn’t been lost on Quinn’s successor, either, as demonstrated by a “tweet” from Gov. Rauner’s official Twitter account shortly after his visit: “Met w/ workers from @StandardAero and toured their facility. Very impressive. It’s imperative we help them grow in IL.”