June 5, 2014
By Dan Namowitz
General aviation generates $50.9 billion in economic activity, supports 248,500 jobs and payroll of $15.3 billion, and enhances the lives of Washington state residents, said Gov. Jay Inslee in proclaiming June "General Aviation Appreciation Month."
With 134 public-use airports, 19,044 pilots, and 9,112 general aviation aircraft, Washington has "a dynamic system of airports that year after year strengthen our economy and quality of life," added Tristan Atkins, director of aviation for the Washington State Department of Transportation. In 2012 Atkins’ division completed an Aviation Economic Impact Study to update previous transportation planning research. The study included a goal of promoting a "broad understanding" of the role aviation plays within the state’s economy.
Inslee’s proclamation highlighted that role, emphasizing the state’s "significant interest in the continued viability of general aviation, aerospace, aircraft manufacturing, educational institutions, aviation organizations, and community airports and airport operators."
Commerce, tourism, and emergency responses all benefit from a healthy state aviation economy in which 44 charter companies, 113 repair stations, 28 flight schools, and 64 fixed-base operators all participate, he said.
"AOPA thanks Governor Inslee for recognizing general aviation as a critical component of the state’s transportation system," said David Ulane, AOPA Northwest Mountain regional manager. "Working with the Washington Pilots Association, the Washington Airport Management Association, and the Washington State Department of Transportation's Aviation Division, AOPA hopes to continue telling the important story of GA in the Evergreen State."
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor.
Department of Transportation,
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