“General aviation in South Dakota plays a critical role with its citizens, businesses, farms and ranches, and is important to the state’s economy,” says Transportation secretary Darin Bergquist.
According to the 2010-2030 South Dakota State Aviation System Plan, the aviation industry supports over 7,000 jobs, $800 million in business sales and provides more than $250 million in wages. Agricultural aviation supports more than $10 million of income in the state, according to the same study.
The official proclamation cites the importance of general aviation to businesses and communities in the state. Given South Dakota’s geography, this service is also important for providing access to medical services, disaster relief and aerial forest fighting. Communities in the state depend on general aviation for the continued flow of visitors, tourism and commerce.
South Dakota has 71 public-use airports serving 2,333 certified pilots and 2,030 active general aviation aircraft, including a Civil Air Patrol Squadron. Organizations such as the South Dakota Pilots Association, the South Dakota Aviation Association and many others recognize and promote the interests and importance of aviation in South Dakota and throughout the world.
Aviation in South Dakota includes the airline industry, education institutions, aviation organizations and Ellsworth Air Force Base. The Department of Transportation and the Aeronautics Commission work aggressively to enhance and promote aviation in the state.
“Aviation plays a critical role in South Dakota and as a business owner and farmer, I see the value it brings to our economy for transporting goods and services,” says Aeronautics Commission chairman Eric Odenbach. “As a largely agricultural state, a strong aviation program is vital to the livelihood of the citizens of our state and I am proud to be part of a Commission that supports and fosters aviation success in South Dakota.”