Friday, November 28, 2008

Continuing to Set the Record Straight

As the media continue to report on the CEO’s use of their private plane, Alliance members continue to make their voices heard to their local newspapers. Below is a response submitted to the Southtown Star by another Illinois-based Alliance member.

Dear Editor:

Your article “For many CEO’s private jets the only way to fly,” unfortunately revealed how little most people understand the economic impact of the GA sector in our economy, or the contributions small aircraft make to business efficiency and the business bottom line.

First, the vast majority of businesses which use small planes are not big corporations. Over 85% are small to medium sized companies, some of which are non-profits. Most of these have one airplane, which seats only two to six people and is used to fly to smaller cities and rural communities which lack airline service, and use small community airports. They visit both customers and vendors for enhanced face to face meetings.

Second, small planes are an economic lifeline to small towns. Companies using airplanes for business are often located in small towns and rural areas that have no airline service. Their planes open the door to national and global commerce.

Finally, the General Aviation sector of our economy represents 5.4 percent of our Gross Domestic Product and contributes over $600 billion to the annual economy. Aviation also provides some nine million jobs in the United States today. What we call GA is a national network of businesses, farmers, agricultural groups, local cities and towns, charitable organizations and over 5,000 small and mid-sized airports.

In today’s distressed economy, we should be supporting and encouraging General Aviation as a vital engine of economic growth for a broad spectrum of businesses, all across America.


W. G. Frick

Libertyville, IL

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Member Voices

In response to this article in the Arizona Republic, Alliance member Dave Hansen of Kingman, AZ submitted the following response…

Dear Editor:

In spite of ongoing news coverage on the foolish actions of a few auto executives (“For many CEOs, private jets the only way to fly,” 11/20), we shouldn’t lose perspective of the fact that small aircraft are a key driver of businesses and economies across the country.

The fact is that only 3% of all of small aircraft are used by Fortune 500 companies. Instead, the vast majority of these planes – also called general aviation – are used by charitable groups, small to mid-sized businesses, flight schools, farmers and rural organizations, and doctors to reach smaller towns and communities that the commercial airlines don’t serve. These small aircraft, and the airports and communities that depend on them, are an important and often neglected part of our local and national economy, connecting medical care, tools and resources to cities across Arizona such as Cottonwood, Holbrook, and Coolidge.

In fact, for many businesses, a small plane is a tool as necessary as a car or computers – and between the recent economic downturn and wildly fluctuating fuel prices, a small plane is many businesses’ last hope for retaining their business model and staying connected to communities and resources that would be otherwise inaccessible. Whether its transporting patients to life-saving care, bringing recycled materials to plants, or using these planes for law enforcement, general aviation is a necessary tool for these communities.

We shouldn’t let the actions of a few color our view of what is a vital economic engine for much of America.


David Hansen

Kingman, AZ

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Voices of AAAA Members

In the wake of the media coverage of the CEO's of general motors using their private aircraft to fly to Washington and testify to the Senate. What is lost on the conversation are the true benefits private planes provide to our national economy, mainly small towns and communities.

Some our members have submitted letters to their local papers setting the record straight about the use of general aviation. In the next few days, we will be posting a few of these letters on our blog. Below is a letter from Steve Whitney, an Alliance member in Illinois.


Dear Editor:

Your November 21 article, “For many CEO’s private jets the only way to fly,” offered much to think about. While we may decry the excess and abuse of a few big corporate executives, we mustn’t lose sight of the tremendous contribution General Aviation as a whole makes to our national economy.

In addition to corporate aircraft, GA includes small businesses, farmers, agricultural groups, local cities and towns, charitable organizations like “Angel-Flight” and over 5,000 small and mid-sized airports. These grounds provide millions in economic in economic benefits to our economy as well as thousands of jobs to hard-working Americans across the country.

So it’s not just about corporate CEOs. Millions of hard-working families depend on General Aviation to put bread of their tables.

General Aviation is a lifeline to small business, small towns and rural communities all across America. Fully 85% of companies which use airplanes are small to mid-sized businesses. Most companies have one small aircraft, seating four to six people, flying relatively short trips to places which lack airline service, using local community airports.

General Aviation drives economic growth. Just ask municipal economic development officials in most cities, and they’ll tell you how aviation leads business growth. In these days of recession and unemployment, we need every tool we have to grow our local economies and provide high-wage jobs. General Aviation has always done just that.

So, while you may scoff at the “Big Three,” remember what GA really is, and the very real benefits the GA sector produces.


Steve Whitney

Glenview, IL