In response to this article in the Arizona Republic, Alliance member Dave Hansen of Kingman, AZ submitted the following responseÉ
In spite of ongoing news coverage on the foolish actions of a few auto executives (“For many CEOs, private jets the only way to fly,” 11/20), we shouldn’t lose perspective of the fact that small aircraft are a key driver of businesses and economies across the country.
The fact is that only 3% of all of small aircraft are used by Fortune 500 companies. Instead, the vast majority of these planes Ð also called general aviation Ð are used by charitable groups, small to mid-sized businesses, flight schools, farmers and rural organizations, and doctors to reach smaller towns and communities that the commercial airlines don’t serve. These small aircraft, and the airports and communities that depend on them, are an important and often neglected part of our local and national economy, connecting medical care, tools and resources to cities across Arizona such as Cottonwood, Holbrook, and Coolidge.
In fact, for many businesses, a small plane is a tool as necessary as a car or computers Ð and between the recent economic downturn and wildly fluctuating fuel prices, a small plane is many businesses’ last hope for retaining their business model and staying connected to communities and resources that would be otherwise inaccessible. Whether its transporting patients to life-saving care, bringing recycled materials to plants, or using these planes for law enforcement, general aviation is a necessary tool for these communities.
We shouldn’t let the actions of a few color our view of what is a vital economic engine for much of America.