The results from Election Day have given the general aviation community hope for a bright future. The difference in the public’s support for GA in the past four years has grown at an astounding rate, according to a survey from AOPA.
Four years ago, 62% of voters across all demographic groups agreed with the statement “general aviation in the United States is an important part of the nation’s transportation system.” This past Tuesday, a remarkable 93% of participants agreed to that exact same statement. We are thrilled that not only is there a major increase in the population’s appreciation for the overall importance of GA, but our message being spread and taking root in the minds of the general public.
The second part of the survey asked if voters viewed general aviation in the US as important to themselves and their families. In 2008, 29% of respondents thought so. This year, an incredible 76% agreed. Our primary goal at the Alliance is to educate people about the benefits general aviation has on their everyday lives, and we are thrilled that our cause has connected with the average person. This shows that the public has taken notice of the economic impact of GA in their community, as well as the safety, business, and other benefits it can provide to their families and communities.
We are honored to work with such prominent organizations like AOPA, NBAA, NATA, NASAO, HAI, among many others, to educate the general public on the economic, safety, and other benefits of general aviation. With the help of our partners, we have managed to collect signatures from more than 115 mayors on a petition addressed to President Obama calling on the administration to recognize the importance of GA and protect the industry from user fees. Additionally, a total of 46 governors have passed proclamations in their state recognizing the value of aviation and GA and the contributions made by the industry to their specific state.
The third and final part of the survey was a new addition this year. It asked about voters aspirations to fly in a private plane. 31 percent of all voters revealed that they have never been in a private plane, but hope to some day. In the younger demographic, between the ages of 18 and 24, over half of those asked said that they would like to one day fly in a private plane.
The next few months will hold some challenges and major public policy debates for the general aviation industry, but the significance of this survey proves that the invaluable benefits of GA is being recognized by governments and citizens across the nation.