Cessna Chief Concerned about Aviation’s Future

 - June 24, 2010, 12:14 PM

All aviation stakeholders must work together to ensure the health of the industry, Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton said at an Aero Club of Washington, D.C. function this week. It was this kind of cooperation, he noted, that squelched the negative rhetoric around the general aviation industry since the economic recession began. “This cooperation we’ve experienced in general aviation must span all areas of aviation,” Pelton said, adding that the DOT’s Future of Aviation Advisory Committee on which he sits is an “excellent start.” He cited key concerns for the aviation industry: the pilot population and environmental issues. Alarmingly, Pelton said the FAA expects the number of student pilots nationwide to fall to a 10-year low of about 69,000 next year. That will equate to a nearly 30-percent decrease during the first decade of this century. “Fewer pilots equates to less business for all of us, and it threatens the strong, sustainable aviation system our nation counts on,” he pointed out. “We need legislation that fosters and stimulates our industry.” On the environment, Pelton said aviation has established a good track record in reducing its environmental impact, though “there is much more we must do.”