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Governor Notes Economic Importance of Airports

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire has declared June 2012 as General Aviation Appreciation Month in the state.

The governor’s proclamation notes that the 135 public-use airports in Washington are home to more than 20,000 pilots, more than 7,500 aircraft and generate nearly 250,000 jobs worth about $15.3 billion annually. Public-use airports support $50.9 billion in total economic activity within the state, noted Gregoire.

“GA and community airports play critical roles in the lives of our citizens, as well as the operation of businesses, industry, ranches and farms,” the governor said. Figures over the last decade show that the number of jobs generated by Washington state’s airports grew by 45 percent, generated 283 percent more in wages and contributed to a 57 percent increase in total economic activity for the state.

Locally, Skagit Regional Airport supports 370 direct jobs paying combined wages of $41.3 million per year, according to a new report by the Washington State Department of Transportation. The report goes on to state that the real contribution of airports such as Skagit Regional comes from the connectivity that the airport provides to the larger aviation system and through user-derived benefits of provided services.

Gregoire’s proclamation was the second such recognition of general aviation by state officials since the start of the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, which is the joint effort launched by the National Business Aviation Association and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association in early 2009.

“Gov. Gregoire is the CEO of a state that covers 71,300 square miles, so she understands the necessity of business aviation for keeping smaller communities connected,” said Ed Bolen, NBAA president and CEO. “We appreciate her support.”

State legislators in Washington demonstrated their understanding of business aviation value in 2010, when the state Senate voted down a proposed tax increase on aircraft owners in the state.

“It was that jobs number, an increase of 77,200 jobs in just a little over a decade, that really helped convince the legislators,” said Kristi Ivey, NBAA Northwest regional representative. “It’s clear our message has been heard in the last few years.”

In addition to Washington, 40 other states have now officially recognized the value of business flying for their state.

If you are a reporter seeking information about the Port of Skagit, please call Andrew Entrikin, community outreach administrator, at 360-757-0011 or email andrew@portofskagit.com