Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) highlighted the value of general aviation at a round-table this week at Mount Hawley Auxiliary Airport in Peoria, Ill. The first-term representative, whose father is former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, partnered with AOPA to host the round-table of general aviation stakeholders and pilots to discuss issues confronting small airports.
“General aviation allows businesses to efficiently transport people, goods and products across the nation, and is therefore responsible for $219 billion in total economic output in the U.S. and $37 million in the 18th district of Illinois,” he said, noting the role smaller airports play in linking rural communities with larger transportation hubs. “The round-table provided an important opportunity for me to learn how the federal government can support the industry as its members facilitate economic growth and job creation.”
“With nearly two-thirds of airline pilots coming from the ranks of general aviation, airports like Mt. Hawley are important for economic growth and for the future of tomorrow’s pilots,” added Gene Olson, director of airports of the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria. He said this airport supports all aspects of general aviation activity: corporate, business, law enforcement, medical, pipeline and powerline patrol, flight training and recreational flying.
The round-table comes as AOPA and other general aviation advocates focus resources on bolstering local airports and educating local communities about their value. The associations look at these efforts as important to preserve the national network of general aviation airports.