May 29, 2011
By Mayor Carl Brewer
General aviation manufacturing plays a vital role in communities across the state of Kansas, generating $2,561 per capita. That is more than any other state in the country and accounts for more than 40 percent of the world’s general aviation aircraft production.
Accordingly, 58 percent of Wichita’s manufacturing jobs are related to the aviation industry. The production of general aviation aircraft is responsible for $8.53 billion of output in Kansas, about one-tenth of the state’s gross domestic product, meaning that Kansas has been and will continue to be a global leader in general aviation manufacturing and technology.
Another source of economic impact are our smaller airports. About 140 airports across Kansas are central to our communities and local economies, providing 47,651 jobs, or 2.5 percent of total jobs in the state. This translates to $2.3 billion in payroll and $10.5 billion in total economic output.
An additional 106,400 workers, or 5.6 percent of the workforce, rely on the airport system to perform their jobs. Access to a general aviation airport is essential for the growth of local businesses, and allows companies to expand into new markets.
In addition, whether it’s medical care, law enforcement, disaster relief, organ and blood transport, search and rescue operations, firefighting and flight training, general aviation aircraft and airports serve as a literal lifeline to many smaller communities around Kansas for a host of important services and resources.
For example, Angel Flight Central provides patients in Kansas and across our region with free donated air transportation to medical facilities around the country. Often these patients cannot endure the stress and duration of commercial flight or ground transportation. Last year Angel Flight Central provided 1,382 flights, a third of which were for children, throughout the country at no cost to the patient.
For all these reasons and more, I applaud Gov. Sam Brownback for recently declaring May as General Aviation Appreciation Month, and highlighting an often underappreciated but crucial driver of our local and national economy.
I look forward to working with the governor and airports, businesses and organizations across our state to continue to highlight the importance of general aviation to the economic health of our state and the nation as a whole.
Source: THE WICHITA EAGLE