General aviation is vital to the state of Washington’s economy and transportation system and contributes to the well-being of its citizens, said Gov. Jay Inslee, proclaiming June as General Aviation Appreciation Month.
Inslee’s proclamation reflected data from a state study that found that Washington’s system of 134 public-use airports that are used by nearly 19,000 pilots and more than 9,100 general aviation aircraft supports 248,500 jobs, "$15.3 billion in wages, and $50.9 billion in total economic activity."
"General aviation is crucial to our state," said Tristan Atkins, director of aviation for the Washington State Department of Transportation in a news release accompanying the proclamation, which has been issued for three consecutive years.
A gubernatorial proclamation makes "an important and supportive statement" about the aviation sector, said David Ulane, AOPA Northwest Mountain regional manager. He encouraged members to inform their state and local elected officials about the proclamation and the economic impact study that produced the findings cited by Inslee.
Kandace Harvey, president of the recently established Washington State Aviation Alliance, said the proclamation "reminds us that we must strengthen our efforts to promote and protect these great assets."
AOPA works closely with the alliance as well as organizations including the Washington Pilots Association, Washington Airport Management Association, Washington State Community Airport Association, the National Business Aviation Association, and others, Ulane said.
AOPA also helped play a key role in the creation of the state’s first Legislative Aviation Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators focused on the impact of aviation in the state, he said.