Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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Little airports bring in big money

November 28, 2014

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Aircraft parked at Maryland's Frederick Municipal Airport. Photo by Benét J. Wilson

While many cities and towns across America probably don’t have a commercial airport, most of them have smaller general aviation (GA) airports that help them connect to the national air transport system. These smaller GA airports also serve as important economic engines in the communities they serve.

The Alliance for Aviation Across America is a nonprofit, non-partisan coalition of more than 6,300 individuals, businesses, agricultural groups, fixed-base operators, small airports, elected officials, charitable organizations, and business and aviation groups that points out the value of general aviation and local airports.

The alliance did a study that measured the economic impact of general aviation broken down by state. It also created an interactive map that shows key statistics in each state, including number of airports, pilots, aircraft, jobs generated and economic impact in dollars.

It its executive summary, the alliance noted there are 5,261 public-use airports that can be directly accessed by general aviation, more than 10 times the number of airports served by scheduled airlines.

“These public use airports are the only available option for fast, reliable, flexible air transportation to small and rural communities in every corner of the country, providing jobs, serving as a lifeline for small to mid-sized businesses, and providing critical services to remote cities and towns in time of natural disaster or crisis,” said the study.

STORY IDEAS

Alliance for Aviation Across America study

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

National Business Aviation Association

General Aviation Manufacturers Association

Federal Aviation Administration’s “Plane Sense: General Aviation Information”

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