Mayors, County Executives Write the President É
July 27, 2009
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  • Posted By John F. Infanger
    Editorial Director, AIRPORT BUSINESS Magazine

    É in an attempt to get the White House to recognize the importance of general aviation to their communities. In a conference call with the media on Wednesday, four of the 70 civic officials who signed the letter to President Obama outlined the critical role GA plays locally. The letter, dated April 22, has yet to draw an official response from Washington .

    Comments Wichita mayor Carl Brewer, “We do know that our letter was presented to the President. At this point in time, we haven’t heard anything.” Brewer estimates that Wichita has lost some 9,000 jobs due to the economy and the negative press coming out of Washington regarding private aircraft.

    Wednesday’s media initiative was coordinated by the Alliance for Aviation Across America ( which seeks to educate the public and other government officials about the vital role of GA. Says the letter, “We call on you to help protect the 1.2 million good paying jobs and $150 billion per year in economic output created by GA. Mr. President, small and mid-size communities like ours need the manufacturing and service jobs which general aviation makes possible. Ready access to these airplanes provides a crucial lifeline to rural , connecting farmers, charitable groups, and individuals with resources, tools, and business to national and world markets.”

    It’s not unlike the letter sent to Obama in March by Jim Coyne, president of the National Air Transportation Association. That four-page effort has yet to draw an official response either.

    What makes today’s announcement most significant is that it comes from mayors and other civic leaders – not aviation interests – and one would presume that their plea might be more apt to get the Administration’s attention. They shouldn’t hold their breath.
    Yet, it was Coyne who may have stated the cause most poignantly: “It’s time to stop the populist demonizing. It’s time, instead, to support, if only with words, an outstanding American success story.”

    Maybe the best way to get the President’s attention is to make all the general aviation workers members of the United Auto Workers. Then the feds can take control of Cessna, Hawker-Beechcraft, Piper and others to make sure no more jobs are lost.

    Date: 2009-05-06