This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) kicked off a “General Aviation Advancing America” campaign that will involve a series of meetings throughout the country with small focus groups to discuss the importance of rural airports to economic development, job recovery, and emergency response. Involving groups of 10 or fewer essential community leaders and aviation stakeholders, the initiative is designed to encourage open dialog about the value of general aviation to the community.
These groups also will focus on ideas on how the aviation community, working with local leaders, can communicate and demonstrate the significant contributions of the airport and tenant businesses during difficult and changing times. The initial General Aviation Advancing America events will take place in Colorado this week and Nevada next week, with others now in the scheduling process.
“With General Aviation Advancing America, NATA saw an opportunity to showcase the immense value airports and general aviation businesses contribute to their regions,” said NATA president and CEO Timothy Obitts. “Without these crucial businesses, the essential roles that general aviation fulfills will cease, leaving a serious void in disaster-relief capabilities and diminishing the support of growth and prosperity in many cities.”
“This is an unprecedented time for our industry and there is a great opportunity to inform the American people both at a local and national level of the added benefit, convenience, and safety that general aviation enables, added NATA senior v-p Ryan Waguespack, pointing out benefits of private flying such as a controlled environment with fewer touchpoints.
“We are seeing an uptick in first-time private travelers and are working with our members and other industry stakeholders to ensure we see this pattern of recovery and potential growth continue,” Waguespack said.