General Aviation's Job Losses Spur Outreach For Aid

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The letter released last week by 70 mayors and county executives sent to President Barack Obama began, "Recent negative press which has mischaracterized general aviation has created a poisonous climate for the aviation sector of our economy," but for some the message may prove too little and too late. Intended to show the importance of small aircraft and the economies they support, the letter called on the president to "help protect the 1.2 million good paying jobs and $150 billion per year in economic output created by GA." Then, in a press conference with reporters, mayors emphasized losses specific to their communities. Some 13,000 aviation jobs have been lost nationally, according to a supporting press release from the Alliance For Aviation Across America, and Wichita serves as ground zero, accounting for some 8,000 job losses. Overall, manufacturers are suffering a 7-percent slump in general aviation aircraft sales. But theirs isn't the only hand aviation has in the pot, and when the administration's Fiscal Year 2010 budget was released at week's end another segment of the industry was quick to express its disappointment.

Airports Council International - North America (ACI-NA), which represents the government entities that own and operate commercial airports in the U.S. and Canada, distributed a press release Friday that expressed "disappointment that funding for the Airport Improvement Program was not increased." ACI-NA noted that "NextGen begins and ends at the airport" and an investment in airports is an investment in "both jobs and economic activity." The group was also disappointed that funding for the Small Community Air Service Development program, which "provides airports with funding to enhance and attract new air service," was cut altogether. ACI-NA will through channels to attempt to obtain $10 million in funding for that program.