We wouldn’t get anywhere (fast) without it — the aviation industry.
Eleven aviation companies service Ketchikan. Some provide daily flights in and out of Ketchikan to both big and small communities, while others strictly fly visitors on charters to Misty Fiords National Monument, camp sites, fishing holes and similar remote sites.
Alaska Airlines is the largest. The smallest, if they aren’t still, might have started as one-man (or woman) operations. In any case, they’re all providing a service we often take for granted and couldn’t appreciate more, particularly when we want to get somewhere quickly.
Aviation is an economic engine here and around the state, generating 47,000 jobs and $3.5 billion annually. It supports the oil, fishing, and mining industries, as well as other industries that Alaskans depend upon. Those industries rely on aviation for the transport of people and cargo.
The aviation industry is dependent on Alaska’s 255 airports, most of which are in small rural communities. Without working airports, 82 percent of Alaska’s communities would be without a year-round means of travel from their rural homes.
September is General Aviation Appreciation Month, according to the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. The state has joined with the Alaska Air Carriers Association, Alaska Airmen’s Association, Alaskacraft Owners and Pilots Association, Alaska Airports Association, Federal Aviation Administration and Alliance for Aviation Across America to recognize the significance of aviation in our state, according to Gov. Sean Parnell.
We Alaskans rely on the aviation industry in a myriad of ways; from the trips we take to visit family, to fun in the sun, to all sorts of entertainment, to conducting business. For many, the premier destination is simply Alaska’s great outdoors.
The industry affects everyone differently. But the one commonality is that Alaskans in this industry of hard-working, dedicated aviators deserve our appreciation, for they make it possible for us to fly.
That’s no small feat, whether the destination is Petersburg in an hour or Paris the next day (or two). Because of aviation, we get there.