Answers for Pilots

An airport's value

July 1, 2005

Creativity is the key

Regular readers of AOPA Pilot are well aware that saving airports is the number-one priority of AOPA and its members. With airports often under duress, many members turn to AOPA for assistance in dealing with the community and airport management. One commonly heard complaint is, "The community thinks the airport is a drain on taxpayer money and is only used by rich people." Nothing is further from the truth, but arming yourself with the right information is critical to crafting an effective response to such a comment.

Various studies have shown that general aviation makes an annual contribution to the economy in excess of $43 billion! Of course, your local airport contributes only a fraction of that, but the fact remains that it is part of a valuable and important infrastructure. When attempting to convey the benefit of the airport to the community there are many things that need to be considered, not the least of which is direct dollars being spent at the field. For example, a study of Virginia's airport system concluded the following:

  • Each dollar spent by aviation and/or aviation-dependent businesses generates an additional $1.52 in economic activity.
  • For every job at the airport, nearly three are created in the visitor-related economy.
  • Aviation-related businesses and their employees annually contribute $105 million in local taxes.
  • Aviation facilities attract new industry to the community.
  • Many visitors arriving by air spend about $70 per day in the area.

Of course, all these factors are independent of the actual dollars spent at the airport, which usually add up to thousands or millions of dollars in fuel and sales tax and possibly millions more in property taxes. An argument against airport expansion is often that the matching funds required to receive FAA grants are not worth the investment. According to one consulting firm, every dollar spent on construction results in $2 in economic activity. With construction multipliers in place, every project at your airport produces 25 times the economic activity of what is initially invested.

Membership Q&A

Answers to frequently asked questions about your AOPA membership

Q: AOPA is sending more renewal reminders than I need. Can I just get one renewal notice sent to me each year?

A: Contact Member Services by phone or e-mail to request this option. Only one notice will be mailed to you just prior to your renewal month. Or, enroll in AOPA's Automatic Annual Renewal program, which will eliminate any renewal notices, as well as save you $4 off your membership dues.

Q: I'm buying an aircraft. What's the advantage of using AOPA's document submission service when submitting the registration forms to the FAA?

A: Aircraft buyers must send evidence of ownership and a registration application to the FAA before operating the aircraft. AOPA's Express Document Submission Service eliminates the hassle factor from this process. AOPA Aircraft Title Service has more than 40 years of experience dealing with the FAA aircraft registry.? AOPA reviews your documents for completeness and FAA recordability and files them within 24 hours of receipt. Your documents are filed promptly and correctly. As an added bonus, we'll make a certified true copy of your bill of sale and return the original document to you for your files. Proper FAA registration is extremely important in today's world. Aircraft owners whose paperwork is not in order could face legal action as a result of a stepped-up review by the FAA. The FAA is flagging records that don't meet registration requirements and listing the status of these aircraft registrations as "In Question" in the interest of national security. The AOPA document submission service includes:

  • Phone consultation with an AOPA document specialist to help you get your paperwork right the first time.
  • A review of all your important ownership and registration documents for completeness and FAA recordability.
  • Filing on your behalf directly with the FAA.

Member Services contact information:

Phone: 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672), 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday
After hours: Renew your membership, reset your Web password, or enroll in Automatic Annual Renewal using our self-service touch-tone phone option.

E-mail: [email protected]

Web: Update your personal information, renew your membership, and much more by clicking on My AOPA in the left column of our home page.

AOPA Web Resources

AOPA has numerous resources to assist you in establishing the value of your airport, including a full report online

Ian J. Twombly

Ian J. Twombly | "Flight Training" Editor

AOPA Pilot and Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.