The National Air Transportation Association has completed its first tour under the newly launched General Aviation Advancing America campaign, landing at seven regional airports throughout Colorado and holding focus groups in four communities. Unveiled earlier this month, the General Aviation Advancing America initiative is designed to highlight the importance of rural airports to economic development, job recovery, and emergency response through a series of meetings with small focus groups involving community leaders and aviation stakeholders.
In the first round, NATA senior v-p Ryan Waguespack led focus groups in Loveland, Longmont, Salida, and Meadow Lake. The airports and their tenants serving those communities generate 1,879 jobs and more than $143 million in annual revenue.
“The General Aviation Advancing America gatherings are designed to encourage open dialogue among a focused group of key participants on how general aviation stakeholders facilitate the success of the community. Additionally, this platform provides forums for collaborating on how we can best support and promote the significant, meaningful contributions the airport and its tenant businesses provide,” Waguespack said.
In Loveland, the recent wildfires highlighted the importance of access through Northern Colorado Regional Airport, said Aaron Ehle, the planning and business development specialist at the airport.
“We are fortunate to have a strong, diverse, and resilient general aviation community in Northern Colorado and the airport is home to many great businesses that support a wide variety of essential services and activities,” Ehle said.
Also in Northern Colorado, a Greely-Weld Airport official called the airport an asset to the community. “The airport has seen significant growth in the past five years and is on the cusp of its next great expansion,” said airport director Cooper Anderson.
“These essential businesses all have great stories,” said NATA president and CEO Timothy Obitts, adding the initiative has received an “outpouring of support.”