We need the airports
Re: “Funds for new airport windsock blow reader away,” by Dave Lieber, Aug. 21 Metro column.
This column unfortunately overlooked many important details, namely the value of smaller airports and general aviation. Airports like Hillsboro, Plano and Addison, like thousands of airports across the country, contribute a significant amount to our economy and way of life, supporting nearly every industry, including agriculture, food production, power line maintenance, manufacturing and others.
For example, the Addison Airport alone supports over 3,000 jobs and has an economic impact of nearly $500 million. According to a recent study, public-use airports in Texas support over 48,000 jobs and contribute more than $9 billion in total economic output. This is all the more important recently, as these airports and flights support the transport of patients and critical supplies such as masks, tests and other materials during this critical time. And these aircraft and airports are vital hubs for distribution of supplies during hurricanes and natural disasters.
However, airports have taken a major hit due to the pandemic. By some estimates, general aviation airports across the country have seen a decline in operations by as much as 90% compared to last year. In Texas, we’ve seen general aviation operations fall by as much as 37% when things were at their worst.
Funding from the CARES Act is crucial to keeping these airports up and running and keeping people employed. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on all of us. General aviation airports are a vital community resource that support jobs and critical services. Let’s support and not vilify this important lifeline.
Mark Baker, Summerland Key, Fla., president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Ed Bolen, Bethesda, Md., president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association