By Marla Matzer Rose
Ohio joined other states that have formally recognized the economic impact of private aviation, with Gov. Ted Strickland proclaiming today “Aviation Industry Awareness Day.”
The state has an estimated 17,352 jobs in private aviation, and it produces an annual economic impact of $5.5 billion, according to data compiled by industry lobbying group Alliance for Aviation Across America.
Private aviation groups stepped up public relations efforts in the past 18 months to counter negative press fueled by Washington lawmakers and the major airlines, who were arguing that general aviation users should pay more into the system as the new Federal Aviation Administration re-authorization bill was being hammered out.
“Whether it’s aerospace, aircraft manufacturing, educational institutions or our vast network of over 160 community airports statewide, aviation is a crucial part of our state and country’s infrastructure,” said Gov. Ted Strickland in a statement. Last year, Strickland founded the Ohio Aerospace and Business Aviation Council to re-start other attempts over the years to attract and retain businesses in those industries.
Under then-Gov. James A. Rhodes decades ago, Ohio launched a drive to put an airport in every county as an engine of economic development. As a result, Ohio has one of the greatest number of general aviation airports of any state.
“When you talk about private aviation, there’s a misperception that it’s mostly corporate CEOs using their own jets,” said Selena Shilad, spokeswoman for the Alliance for Aviation Across America. “That’s maybe three or four percent of what it’s about: It’s law enforcement, firefighters, farmers, and medical uses that account for a large portion of users.”
The Columbus area has a strong stake in private aviation, from major companies such as Nationwide, Scotts Miracle-Gro and Limited Brands operating their own fleets to the world’s largest private jet operator, NetJets, having its headquarters here.
Source: COLUMBUS DISPATCH