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Mayor Brewer Joins National Teleconference to Note Alliance for Aviation Milestone

6/14/2011
Dale Goter, Government Relations Manager | DGoter@wichita.gov | (316) 268-4351

29 states have issued aviation proclamations

Washington, DC – Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer joined other national supporters of general aviation for a Tuesday media teleconference to highlight the significant progress over the past four years to educate the public about general aviation.

The teleconference was conducted by the Alliance for Aviation Across America and also included U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska; Henry Ogrodzinski, president and CEO of the National Association of State Aviation Officials, and Niel Ritchie, executive director of the League of Rural Voters.

Participants highlighted the fact that 29 states have issued proclamations recognizing the importance of aviation, most of them specifically highlighting the value of general aviation.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback recently issued a proclamation naming May 2011 as "General Aviation Awareness Month" in the State of Kansas.

States that passed proclamations for June include South Carolina, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois, and Florida. The 29-state milestone also comes as the Alliance marks the fourth year since its founding in 2007.

During the teleconference, Mayor Brewer emphasized the importance of general aviation to the local and state economies, as well as its role in leading Wichita to its number one ranking as the leading export community in the nation. That ranking was identified last year by a Brookings Institution study based on the years 2003-2008.

The Mayor also called for continued education efforts to alert the nation to the importance of general aviation to federal, state and local economies.

“General aviation is such a crucial, yet often under-recognized part of our economy, and I hope that we are finally beginning to help our public to understand how important it is for our nation,” Mayor Brewer said. “As the Air Capital of the World, we in Wichita know well the tremendous economic impact that general aviation has in our state and across the country. General aviation drives thousands of jobs and over $7 billion in economic impact here in Kansas alone, and over $1.2 billion jobs annually.”

Sen. Begich also lauded the education effort by the Aviation Alliance.

“As co-founder of the General Aviation Caucus, I am extremely proud of the progress that has been made in terms of the growth of the Caucus and the increase in awareness about the critical importance of general aviation to our economy and our country,” he said. “I look forward to working with the Alliance and my colleagues in Congress to continue to raise awareness about this important form of transportation, which generates over $150 billion in economic activity annually.”

Selena Shilad, Executive Director of the Alliance for Aviation Across America, stated: “It is extremely significant that over half of the states in the country have passed proclamations highlighting the importance of aviation. We commend our partners at the state and local level, as well as Members of Congress, for such significant progress in raising awareness about immense value of general aviation, particularly for small towns and rural communities around the nation. We look forward to working with aviation and non-aviation groups and individuals alike to raise awareness about this crucial lifeline and economic generator for our nation.”

The Alliance formed in early 2007 with just a couple hundred members, and has since grown to over 5700 member organizations and individuals, including more than 20 percent who non-aviation groups and individuals. Over the last two years, the Alliance has spearheaded several initiatives aimed at raising awareness about the value of general aviation, including a mayoral letter to President Obama and an economic impact survey which details the impact of general aviation in all 50 states. In addition, the Alliance has been working with many state and local officials to urge Governors and local officials to pass proclamations and resolutions highlighting the value of general aviation.

“General aviation is a literal lifeline to rural communities around the nation for a host of important services and resources, including medical care, law enforcement, and disaster relief,” said Niel Ritchie, President of the League of Rural Voters.

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