BY MOLLY MCMILLIN
About 70 mayors and other officials, including Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, are calling on President Barack Obama to protect aviation-related jobs and their economic impact.
In a letter to Obama, they’re asking him to use his “bully pulpit” to help change “toxic perceptions” about general aviation.
“Recent negative press which has mischaracterized general aviation has created a poisonous climate for the aviation sector of the economy,” the letter said.
The general aviation industry builds aircraft for business and leisure use. “Mr. President, we call on you to speak out,” the letter said.
Jobs have been lost and a sector of the economy has been damaged, it said.
“This is a very troubling situation,” it said.
Brewer has reiterated his invitation to Obama to visit Wichita to see firsthand the importance of the industry.
Wichita has been hard hit by the downturn in the industry.
The average annual pay in the Wichita area in 2007 for an aviation job was about $69,000, compared with almost $40,000 for all jobs.
Cessna Aircraft, Hawker Beechcraft and Bombardier Learjet have announced more than 9,500 job cuts. Cessna will issue an additional 60-day notices to about 700 salaried workers in June, most of them in Wichita . And Hawker Beechcraft has announced another round of cuts, but has not said how many jobs will be cut.
The letter calls on Obama to protect the 1.2 million jobs and $150 billion a year in economic output created by general aviation.
The effort is spearheaded by the Alliance for Aviation Across America. The letter pushed the industry line that small and mid-size communities need the jobs created by general aviation.
Source: THE WICHITA EAGLE