Today, national general aviation organizations applauded Governor Mike Dunleavy for declaring May “Aviation Appreciation Month.” In Alaska, aviation contributes an estimated $3.8 billion annually to the state’s economy.
Selena Shilad, Executive Director for the Alliance for Aviation Across America said, “In Alaska and around the country, we need to protect and support general aviation and our network of airports, which are a lifeline to communities across Alaska, and which have experienced massive downturns in operations due to this global pandemic.”
In March, it was reported that one major airport has seen passenger numbers drop by as much as 70% compared to last year. While in April, one air carrier, which served over a hundred communities throughout the state and was the exclusive carrier to 20 communities, filed for bankruptcy.
“General aviation is vital to connecting towns and cities to one another,” said Mark Baker, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. “During this pandemic, we’ve seen first-hand the commitment of our pilots and operators to communities across the country who are using general aviation aircraft to transport masks, gloves, and even test kits. We thank the governor for issuing this proclamation and supporting this vital industry.”
“General aviation, which includes business aviation, is an important resource that supports companies and communities across the country,” said Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association. “As we emerge from this pandemic, businesses will need every tool at their disposal, and mobility will be crucial. This proclamation helps to recognize the contributions of Alaska’s business aviation community.”
James Viola, president and CEO of Helicopter Association International said, “General aviation, including rotary-wing aircraft such as helicopters, are vital in supporting medical services, disaster relief, construction of remote infrastructure, search and rescue, and a host of critical services. Additionally, the ability of helicopters to take off and land vertically provides rapid access to parts of Alaska that are not reasonable through other means of transportation. We greatly appreciate the Governor’s proclamation, which highlights the positive contributions of general aviation in Alaska and around the country.”
“General aviation, including charter companies, support high-skill jobs that will help get our country back on its feet when we emerge from this crisis,” said Tim Obitts, president and CEO of the National Air Transportation Association. “On behalf of our member companies, we thank Governor Dunleavy for this proclamation and look forward to working with him on issues related to general aviation.”
Jack Pelton, CEO of the Experimental Aircraft Association said, “Even and especially during these difficult times, we must preserve our passion and appreciation for flying and aviation, which is a lifeline to so many communities around the nation. We thank the governor for this proclamation and for giving recognition to the value of general aviation.”
“Mobility and access are crucial to supporting local economies and communities around the country,” said Greg Pecoraro, president and CEO of the National Association of State Aviation Officials. “Our national network of airports are crucial to connecting medical relief efforts to the communities most in need. We thank Governor Dunleavy and John Binder, Deputy Commissioner of Aviation with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, and Chair of the NASAO Board, for issuing this proclamation and highlighting the importance of community airports.”
According to the proclamation:
“Aviation is an integral and essential part of the Alaskan way of life. Eight-two percent of Alaska’s communities are inaccessible by road and rely heavily on aviation to provide all-season access for commerce, transportation, emergency medical services, shipment of goods, and tourism.”
Furthermore, general aviation pilots are stepping up where they can to help out in these trying times. By utilizing general aviation aircraft, volunteer organizations are partnering with hospitals to transport protective gear, medical supplies, and much more from urban centers to rural communities across the country.
To view the proclamation click, here.
Formed in 2007, the Alliance for Aviation Across America is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of over 6,300 individuals representing businesses, agricultural groups, FBO’s, small airports, elected officials, charitable organizations, and leading business and aviation groups that support the interests of the general aviation community across various public policy issues.