The Honorable Barack Obama
President-elect of the United States
John C. Kluczynski Federal Office Building
230 South Dearborn St.
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Dear Mr. President-Elect:
On behalf of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the largest general aviation organization in the world, it is a privilege to extend our sincere congratulations on your historic election as President of the United States, and we look forward to working with your Administration. As a not-for-profit individual membership organization of more than 414,000 members, AOPA represents the interests of almost three-quarters of the nation’s pilots and aircraft owners.
As someone who has used general aviation extensively during your successful campaign, you know that it reaches thousands of airports that are not served by commercial air service. Indeed, many remote communities would be nearly inaccessible were it not for their general aviation airport. Interestingly, in a poll conducted on the night of your election, more than 60% of Americans said they understood that general aviation (all flying other than military or commercial airlines) is a vital part of America’s transportation system. Each year, general aviation contributes more than $150 billion to U.S. economic output, directly or indirectly, and employs nearly 1.3 million people whose collective annual earnings exceed $53 billion.
Pilots, like most Americans are very concerned about the economy. In a recent survey, nearly 70% of AOPA members indicated they felt the current depressed economic conditions would prevail well into next year. Aviation was also adversely affected by this summer’s spike in fuel prices, which resulted in a significant reduction in the amount of flying. As a pilot myself for over forty years, I appreciate what this means to all AOPA pilot members.
Aviation is an integral part of this country’s infrastructure and economy and I can assure you that AOPA is ready to work with you on the pressing issues facing the aviation industry. Top among these challenges are aviation safety, modernizing the nation’s air traffic control system, long term financing of aviation infrastructure, aviation security and responding to environmental issues.
It is vital that your choice for FAA Administrator has technical and people-management skills, combined with an understanding of the aviation industry and has the political acumen necessary to lead the organization.
Additionally, as you look at the issue of security, AOPA asks that your Administration develop sensible policies derived from fact-based intelligence.
As I also take over my office of President of AOPA January 2009, on behalf of the 414,000 members of AOPA we look forward to working with you and your Administration to continue to ensure the United States has the largest, safest, most efficient air transportation system in the world. It is a system on which we all rely in some form or another, and AOPA is ready to help make it even better.
Craig L. Fuller
AOPA President Elect
CC: The Honorable Robert R. Beers, Presidential Transition Department of Homeland Security Team Lead
The Honorable Mortimer Downey, Presidential Transition Department of Transportation Team Lead
Mr. Clark Kent Ervin, Presidential Transition Department of Homeland Security Team Lead