DOT Secretary Joins GA Rally in Wichita

 - March 22, 2011, 10:20 AM

“Even in a down cycle [the general aviation industry] still creates $4.9 billion in exports. That’s extraordinary,” DOT Secretary Ray LaHood told more than 2,000 general aviation workers, elected officials and industry leaders gathered in Wichita yesterday for a GA rally hosted at Cessna Aircraft’s campus. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) organized the event in partnership with Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft, Bombardier Learjet and other Kansas-based GA suppliers. LaHood, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) all recognized general aviation’s impact on the state, as well as the U.S. The GA industry contributes more than $7 billion annually to the state’s economy, and GAMA member companies employ more than 17,000 Kansans. Nationwide, the industry supports 1.2 million jobs and contributes more than $150 billion to the economy. LaHood also noted in his speech the general aviation industry is one of only a few in the U.S. that has a positive trade balance. “The fabric of general aviation touches thousands of communities across North America and is rapidly expanding to all parts of the world,” GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce said. “This industry is an economic engine of growth and needs to be promoted and nurtured by our elected officials at every opportunity.”