News, Press Releases
Governor Bill Lee Declares March “General Aviation Month”
March 16, 2021
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  • Today, national general aviation organizations applauded Governor Bill Lee for declaring March “General Aviation Month.” In Tennessee, the total economic output of airports is over $40 billion, making up 11% of Tennessee’s GDP, according to a new study released in February.

    “General aviation and our network of airports play a crucial role in supporting the livelihood of businesses, towns and cities throughout Tennessee,” said Selena Shilad, executive director of the Alliance for Aviation Across America. “During the pandemic, for example, volunteer pilots have flown COVID-19 test samples and supplies to labs in Nashville and across the region. And, these aircraft and airports support automotive manufacturing and agriculture, among other industries and sectors.”

    “General aviation and local airports support an economic impact of more than $1 billion. We thank Governor Lee for issuing this proclamation, which helps to raise awareness about the value of general aviation and local airports across our state and region,” said Mark Baker, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

    “General aviation, which includes business aviation, is an important resource that helps drive Tennessee’s economy,” said Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association. “Business aviation can provide companies with a key competitive advantage over other firms by supporting their ability to deploy personnel to multiple sites in a given day, and reach towns and smaller cities without commercial service. Throughout the current pandemic, business aircraft have helped transport test samples to labs, cutting the wait time for results in half, and are now helping to distribute the vaccine to rural and remote communities. We appreciate the Governor’s proclamation, which highlights the importance of general aviation, including business aviation.”

    Jim Viola president and CEO of Helicopter Association International said, “General aviation, which includes helicopters, is an important resource that supports business and public safety needs. Tennessee has a lot of diverse terrain, and helicopters are instrumental in supporting law enforcement, health care delivery, and many critical services. We thank Governor Lee for issuing this proclamation, which highlights the value of general aviation and local airports.”

    “General aviation and local airports support professional, high-skill careers that sustain the economy and the state,” said Tim Obitts, president and CEO of the National Air Transportation Association. “In fact, in Tennessee, general aviation business tenants generate more than $600 million per year. On behalf of our member companies, we thank Governor Lee for issuing this proclamation, which helps highlight the value of these essential community links.”

    Jack Pelton, CEO of the Experimental Aircraft Association said, “Our nation is facing a pilot shortage in the coming decades, and network of general aviation airports and 19 EAA chapters across Tennessee will play a critical role in developing the next generation of pilots.  We thank Governor Lee for issuing this proclamation, which will help to raise enthusiasm among young aviators and build our future workforce.”

    Greg Pecoraro, president and CEO of the National Association of State Aviation Officials said, “Our national network of airports are a critical part of our transportation infrastructure. These airports support businesses, farmers, law enforcement, medical transportation, and disaster relief. We thank the Governor, and Aeronautics Division Director Michelle Frazier, for supporting this proclamation.”

     According to the proclamation:

    “The State of Tennessee has a significant interest in the continued vitality of general aviation, aerospace, aircraft manufacturing, educational institutions and aviation organizations and community airports and airport operators”

    To view the proclamation click, here.

    Formed in 2007, the Alliance for Aviation Across America is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of over 7,000 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.

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