By Bent J. Wilson
The following information was released by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association:
Recognizing the critical role that general aviation and community airports play in the lives of the citizens, as well as the operation of businesses and agriculture in the state of Florida, Gov. Rick Scott has become the latest to designate April 2013 as General Aviation Appreciation Month.
Florida is home to 190 charter flight companies, 509 repair stations, three fractional providers, and 73 flight schools operating 858 aircraft and providing 3,500 jobs, the proclamation states. The state is also home to 154 fixed-based operators. In the last few years, Florida has enacted new AOPA-supported laws to create a more aviation-friendly tax climate for GA aircraft.
Many GA companies have headquarters or a major presence in Florida, including Piper Aircraft, Piaggio, Embraer, Rockwell Collins, and Avidyne, which all contribute millions of dollars to the states economy. Aviation organizations including the Florida Airports Council, Florida Aviation Trades Association, and the Florida Aviation Aerospace Alliance also support GA efforts.
There are 129 public-use airports in the state, serving l,671 pilots and 25,328 general aviation aircraft, which represent nearly 80 percent of all aircraft operations in Florida, Scott said in a statement. The aviation industry in Florida supports over one million jobs with an annual payroll of over $30 billion, with general aviation airports supporting over 54,000 jobs and an annual payroll of $1.8 billion, and an economic benefit of $6 billion.