Speaking this week before the U.S. House subcommittee on aviation, Chris Rozansky, executive director of Florida’s Naples Airport Authority, described the benefits that general aviation airports provide to their local communities.
Rozansky, who also serves as vice-chair of the American Association of Airport Executives general aviation committee, noted that in his state alone the more than 100 general aviation airports support some 100,000 jobs and generate more than $18 billion annually in economic impact. He also said general aviation airports provide a variety of vital services such as flight training, law enforcement, firefighting, business aviation, medical transport, and mosquito control. According to the Florida Department of Transportation, Naples Airport (KAPF) alone provides an annual economic impact of nearly $450 million.
With an extremely noise-sensitive community surrounding his airport, Rozansky said the industry needs a more collaborative approach from stakeholders—including the FAA, airports, and communities—to address concerns that extend beyond the traditionally established noise contours. While he added that general aviation airports are committed to transitioning to unleaded avgas by 2030 through the Eagle initiative, such a transition must be carefully planned. That includes consideration about what types of infrastructure improvements would be required to safely support the widespread usage of the new fuels, Rozansky said.
To that end, Rozansky described the funding gap that exists for infrastructure development and urged Congress to make a greater financial investment in airports.
KAPF is a participant in the FAA Contract Tower Program, which enhances aviation safety at airports around the country. Rozansky thanked the subcommittee for its support of the program and asked it to help address the current air traffic controller shortage.
Lastly, Rozansky mentioned the potential benefits the nascent electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) segment could provide, with businesses centered around the new technologies gearing up in Florida’s major urban areas. Since such activity could provide increased connectivity to smaller markets such as Naples, Rozansky asked Congress to provide additional funding for vertiport planning at general aviation airports, but without jeopardizing the support for traditional airport infrastructure projects.