Sherman L. Jenkins (left), executive director, and Ed Bonifas (right), chairman of the board, Aurora Economic Development Commission, present a speakers award to AOPA President Phil Boyer.
Photo by Laura Humpa, Cornerstone Photography.
The local airport provides a huge economic benefit to the entire region, AOPA President Phil Boyer told the Aurora (Illinois) Economic Development Commission last week.
In a speech during the commission's annual dinner, Boyer said that an airport was as vital to a community as an off-ramp from the national highway transportation system.
The message was obviously heard. The local newspaper report of the speech began, "Aurora Municipal Airport is an economic engine propelling businesses and workers to settle in the region."
Boyer said that, on the national level, general aviation accounts for more than 1.3 million jobs and $150 billon in economic activity. Aurora's airport pumps more than $84 million into the northeast Illinois region.
GA carries more than 166 million passengers a year, making it the nation's largest "airline," transporting more people than American, United, and Northwest Airlines combined. And GA takes people to communities that the airlines never serve.
He said that business people enjoy greater productivity by flying to general aviation airports that put them closer to their final destination and avoid the long lines and delays that are inevitable when flying on the airlines.
Most companies, particularly manufacturing businesses, want to locate within 10 miles of an airport capable of handling small business jets.
He also explained the important role GA plays in so many industries and activities, from agriculture to package express to natural resource protection to public safety.
And Boyer made the point that GA provides personal transportation for families — just like cars.
"General aviation is a whole lot more than you might think," Boyer told the audience of business leaders and government officials.