Regional business aviation groups are partnering with other aviation organizations in a number of states, forming coalitions with the clout to influence legislation, aviation funding, regulatory issues and other key aviation matters.
“Business aviation is benefiting from state aviation coalitions in Washington, Utah, North Dakota and other states, where their collective voice is proving very effective at advocating for aviation interests,” said Steve Hadley, NBAA senior director of regional programs. “We encourage regional groups to work closely with each other, invite each other to events and meetings, and even pursue shared memberships.”
“Business aviation is benefiting from state aviation coalitions in Washington, Utah, North Dakota and other states.”
Steve Hadley Senior Director of Regional Programs, NBAA
In the Pacific Northwest, the Washington State Aviation Alliance (WSAA) represents virtually all aviation and airport organizations in the state.
“We have supported a number of bills, and one of our primary focuses currently is to remind the state of its federal obligation to ensure all revenues and fees from aviation assets are spent on airports or state aviation programs,” noted Alan Burnett of WSAA and legislative director for the Pacific Northwest Business Aviation Association.
WSAA also hosts an annual Aviation Open House at the state house in Olympia and participates in monthly Aviation Caucus breakfasts with lawmakers to discuss legislation. Other meetings in the state provide forums for WSAA to educate the aviation community on its efforts.
Meanwhile, the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA) – which was founded, in part, for the purpose of forming a better mechanism for collaboration – also is a strong aviation advocate.
“Having a coalition with a unified brand is really helping raise awareness of our purpose and mission, and we are beginning to see some light as that mission starts to reach the next generation of aviation professionals,” said Darren Hall, NDAA immediate past chair. “Everything we do – from our annual conference and summer fly-in to an annual career expo and our quarterly publication – is promoted under our new FLY-ND brand.”
The newly formed Utah Aviation Coalition represents organizations that span virtually all GA interests in the state.
“We wanted to have a bigger voice in the state, in particular with regard to how state aviation funds are allocated,” said Rich Stehmeier, chair of the Utah Airport Operators Association. “One goal is to make sure that the money in the aviation fund, which is supposed to be restricted to aviation interests, is used properly.” The coalition is already working closely with several state legislators, informing them about the need to protect the fund.
Boosting Airports and General Aviation in New Hampshire
With about two dozen public-use airports, of which only three serve the airlines, New Hampshire’s general aviation airports are a key link in the state’s transportation network. As such, the Granite State Airport Management Association (GSAMA) works to support these community airports and the state aviation community.
“Our primary goal is to bring together the management teams from our airports and to protect and promote the interests of the aviation community in New Hampshire,” said GSAMA president Andrew Pomeroy.
A strong partnership with the New Hampshire DOT’s Bureau of Aeronautics serves GSAMA’s efforts well, and the group also stays in touch with legislators at the state house in Concord. The association holds an occasional “GSAMA Day on the Hill” to inform representatives about the state’s airports and their economic impact on their communities.
GSAMA hosts quarterly membership meetings and several fundraisers each year. Part of the proceeds go toward helping fund STEM education in New Hampshire, including a high school robotics program and an aircraft construction effort, as well as summer camps for students.
Workforce development is also enhanced by intern programs and career days at some of the state’s larger airports, according to Pomeroy.