Today, national general aviation organizations applauded Governor Henry McMaster for declaring August 15-22 “South Carolina Aviation Week.” In South Carolina, general aviation airports contribute more than $1 billion annually to the state’s economy.
Selena Shilad, Executive Director for the Alliance for Aviation Across America said, “In South Carolina, aviation, including general aviation and local airports, is crucial for businesses and the local economy, especially in rural parts of the state. This proclamation will help to raise awareness about this important form of transportation and comes at a critical time as many of these companies and communities are struggling to recover as a result of this pandemic.”
General aviation has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the country, business aviation operations were down by more than 30% in the first six months of 2020, when compared to the first six months of 2019.
“General aviation and our network of local airports in South Carolina support more than 5,800 jobs; they serve as the training ground for the next generation of pilots, and connect communities with the critical resources and services they need,” said Mark Baker, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, volunteers within the pilot and general aviation community have flown test samples, results, supplies and patients to labs and facilities throughout the region.”
“General aviation, including business aviation, is an important tool, helping companies of all sizes to visit multiple worksites, reach far-off markets and carry necessary tools and materials,” said Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association. “Business aviation will be vital to our overall economic recovery, and we thank Governor McMaster for recognizing this vital industry.”
“Aviation businesses, many of which are designated as small, family-owned companies, are critical to our economy,” said Tim Obitts, President, and CEO of the National Air Transportation Association. “But because of the current public health crisis, many of these small enterprises are working even harder to keep their essential employees on the payroll in order to continue providing crucial services at airports nationwide. NATA and its member companies in South Carolina appreciate the recognition that Governor McMaster has given general aviation through his proclamation, which comes at a critical time for the industry.”
Jim Viola, president and CEO of Helicopter Association International said, “General aviation, including helicopters, is vital in supporting law enforcement, medical services, search and rescue, even powerline maintenance and construction in remote areas. We greatly appreciate the Governor’s proclamation and look forward to working with him in the future to support general aviation in the state.”
“South Carolina has a network of 58 publicly-owned airports that are an integral part of the overall transportation infrastructure of the state, and connect to more than 5,000 public-use airports across the country,” said Greg Pecoraro, president and CEO of the National Association of State Aviation Officials. “We thank Governor McMaster and James Stephens, Executive Director of the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission, for issuing this proclamation and recognizing the role of general aviation and local airports in the state.”
According to the proclamation:
“With more than 400 aerospace-related companies in the Palmetto State, aviation is a multi-billion dollar industry that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributes millions of dollars each year in tax revenues to state and local governments.”
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.