Governors Terry Branstad of Iowa and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana both issued proclamations last month naming December as General Aviation Appreciation Month in their state.
In both proclamations, the governors noted that general aviation airports play a critical role for citizens, businesses and travelers to their state. In Iowa, the document states that general aviation activity includes business aviation, air medical transport, air cargo, aerial application, law enforcement, search and rescue, specialty aerial services, air charter, personal aviation and recreational opportunities.
Branstad specifically noted general aviation’s vital role in the state’s response to emergencies and natural disasters, and support of national defense, training exercises and emergency response. “The proclamation Governor Branstad issued is an important recognition of the critical role aviation plays in the State of Iowa," said Michelle McEnany, Iowa Department of Transportation’s Director for the Office of Aviation. "From jobs, to vital services, to helping build the economy, general aviation deserves the recognition.”
Related to economic development, aviation in Iowa supports more than 47,000 jobs and has an $18 billion economic impact in the state. Iowa boasts more than 5,600 pilots, 4,000 general aviation aircraft and nearly one million annual aircraft operations. Many communities in Iowa depend heavily on general aviation and local airports for the continued flow of commerce and visitors to our state.
Iowa has 108 public-owned airports serving as the on-ramp to the national air transportation system and front door to the communities they serve. The state is also home to 69 fixed-based operators, which provide support services to general aviation operators at public-use airports; 24 charter flight companies; and 35 certified repair stations.
According to the Alliance for Aviation Across America, Louisiana becomes the 35th state to recognize the importance of general aviation. Throughout Louisiana, general aviation contributes $2.05 billion, or $454 per capita, to the state’s economy annually. Selena Shilad, Executive Director of the Alliance, said they appreciate the efforts of the Louisiana Airport Managers Association. In an Alliance press release Shilad noted that local community airports and general aviation aircraft are a tremendous resource, serving as a lifeline for businesses, charities, law enforcement, and hospitals not only across Louisiana but throughout the United States.
Louisiana has over 9,500 registered pilots and 74 airports throughout the state. Henry Ogrodzinski, President of the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), said the nation’s network of airports is critical to sustaining millions of jobs and allowing businesses to expand and access essential services while remaining part of the local community.