October 31, 2012
By Benét J. Wilson
AOPA believes that federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants for general aviation airports should be preserved because of the important role these airports play within the national air transportation system. This is in stark contrast with a new report from the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution that recommends cutting the AIP mandatory spending floor for GA airports.
The report, released Oct. 25, focuses on international commercial air travel, noting that growth in international passengers during a 21-year period more than doubled the increase in domestic passengers. The report recommends that airports serving these flights should receive a greater share of government aid at a cost to GA airports nationwide. These redirected AIP funds would be above and beyond what large airports are already collecting through passenger facility charges.
"General aviation airports are used by businesses of all sizes to generate opportunities and create growth in communities that aren't easily accessible by commercial aviation,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “It is vital that AIP funding for small and non-hub airports remain in place to help pay for critical infrastructure projects. These airports are a lifeline to communities across the United States that rely on general aviation for disaster relief, emergency medical transportation, and basic services like law enforcement and fire-fighting.”
The network of GA airports across the country also infuses both urban and rural areas with much-needed tax revenue and jobs. According to the FAA, in 2009 (the last year for which figures are available) non-airline operators at GA airports spent more than $12 billion, making an estimated 27 million flights for emergency medical services, agricultural functions, time-sensitive air cargo services, fire-fighting, law enforcement and border control, flight training, business travel, and some scheduled services.
In the same study, the FAA also noted that “having a well-developed system of GA airports throughout the country supports commerce while also providing a safety net of airports to support emergency aircraft diversions when necessary due to mechanical problems, medical emergencies, deteriorating weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances.”
AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson joined AOPA in 2011. She is working on her private pilot certificate.
Airport Improvement Program Funding,
Safety and Education
The FAA announced Sept. 18 that it would host a “call to action summit” to address the barriers and potential challenges associated with equipping tens of thousands of aircraft for ADS-B, a move welcomed by AOPA.
Changes to departure and arrival procedures in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport airspace will take effect Sept. 18, and AOPA is cautioning pilots to plan ahead for the new procedures.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is pressing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to offer pilots and aircraft owners more flexibility when it comes to the use of hangars at airports that have received federal funding.
VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN NEAR YOU!
SHARE YOUR PASSION. VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN. CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
VOLUNTEER LOCALLY AT AOPA FLY-IN! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
BE A PART OF THE FLY-IN VOLUNTEER CREW! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>