AOPA Airport Support Network
Guide to Obtaining Community Support for Your Local Airport
Sample Speech 2: Airports Are for People Who Don't Fly
An opinion-editorial can be submitted to your local newspaper to provide readership with a national perspective on the importance of your airport to your community. Fill in the necessary information to provide the local information, retype the editorial (newspapers usually won't run what appear to be form letters), write a courteous cover letter, and submit it under your name to the editorial page editor for his consideration.
What does the [name of airport] mean to you? It creates jobs and income; saves lives; helps enforce the laws of the land, is a terminal destination for passengers, freight; and mail; and lowers the cost of food, clothing, pharmaceuticals, and more. The airport can be considered one of [name of town]'s principal resources because what the airport does best is serve people who don't fly.
An airport, regardless of its size, is a community's access point to our nation's major mode of transportation. An airport serves the same basic purpose as the river harbors of a century ago or the train depot of a generation ago. Increasingly, America travels by air, and having an airport in a community is like finding an oil well in your neighborhood.
An airport is a vital part of the local economy. In many communities [name of town] is a fine example the airport is also the location of an industrial park or business center, chosen by many businesses or corporations because of the proximity to the airport.
General aviation airports like [name of airport] play a vital role in the health of the nation's economy, employing 537,000 earning more than $13 billion annually, but the economic benefits of a general aviation airport go far beyond direct jobs and salaries.
A study conducted recently for the Commonwealth of Virginia, but applicable to other states, found that:
- 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;
- Visitors arriving by air spend about $70 per day while in the area;
- Airport development projects produce an impact on the economy that is more than 25 times the amount contributed from state and local funds; and
- In [name of state] in 1987, [ ] general aviation airports employed [ ] people who earned [ ]. In terms of economic impact, those airports handled [ ] general aviation operations, and generated [ ] in economic activity for the state, including [ ] in expenditures by visitors to the state.
And these studies do not begin to address the social contribution to a region, such as the medevac rescue helicopters, which often operate out of smaller general aviation airports - and which have saved the lives of a number of [name of county] County residents; the [name of state] State Police helicopters based here [if applicable], which provide airborne law enforcement throughout this region; flourishing agricultural application activities, which seed our fields and provide protection to the region's crops and flora from a variety of pests, including the devastating gypsy moth; and one of the most active air taxi/air charter services in the region. [In this paragraph, if the examples cited do not apply, substitute those that do.]
General aviation airports in America provide a vital service to a nation that has become more and more dependent on air transportation. Of the 17,600 landing facilities in the United States, the air carriers serve 388 on a scheduled basis, concentrating more than 50 percent of their service in just 20 or so locations. Obviously, most of America's communities are dependent on their local airport for access to the nation's transportation system.
Air travel buys America the nonnegotiable item we all need more of-time. And airports are the focal point for accessing air travel. Coupled with the tremendous social and economic benefits it provides, an airport is a valuable local resource and a vital gateway to the national transportation system.
Note to member: If you have any questions, contact AOPA's Communications Division, telephone (301) 695-2160.