March 11, 2019

The Houston Business Journal
Business Aviation: Serving Houston, and Communities Across Texas

Although readers may not be familiar with the term, “business aviation” has a profound, positive economic impact on the Houston metropolitan area, and across the state. Business aircraft include airplanes and helicopters utilized for employee transport.

Texas is home to more than 300 public airports, many of which are used primarily for these kinds of business flights; Houston alone is home to many dozens of local companies, of all types and sizes, using an aircraft to be nimble and competitive in a global marketplace.

Clearly, what’s good for Houston is good for all of the Lone Star State and beyond: according to a 2018 study from the Texas Department of Transportation, aviation traffic at small airports like those in Houston and elsewhere supports more than 48,000 jobs and a total labor income of over $2.5 billion annually. Beyond Texas, business aviation supports more than one million American jobs, generating over $200 billion in economic activity every year.

Of course, job creation and economic activity aren’t the only benefits of business aviation. The industry’s impact can be felt on a more immediate and direct level, in times of need. After hurricanes ravaged Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico in 2017, business aviation snapped into action to assist the millions of people affected, including in Houston.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, business aviation was a first responder, supplying the initial assistance that made way for the longer-term relief efforts by federal and state authorities.

Consider Houston-based Universal Weather and Aviation, an aviation business that raised more than $250,000 for the relief effort, while many of the company’s employees volunteered to provide shelter, clean flooded homes, and cook hot meals.

Industry humanitarian organizations utilized business airplanes to help deliver more than 200,000 pounds of critical supplies, provide search-and-rescue crews, and carry victims away from impact zones.

The business aviation industry’s efforts in Orange and Jefferson counties, two of Texas’ hardest hit areas, won the praise of elected officials. State Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) described business aviation professionals as “heroic in their efforts to provide relief to our devastated community.”

What it all boils down to is this: In Houston as elsewhere, business aviation is about jobs. It’s about economic activity. It’s about connecting communities. And, it’s about lending a helping hand in times of crisis.

Business aviation works for Houston, for Texas, for the nation, and the rest of the world.

More than 2,000 business aviation professionals, who will be attending the National Business Aviation Association’s Regional Forum at Hobby Airport on March 14, agree.

Ed Bolen is the President and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association in Washington, D.C.