During the first presidential debate, both candidates discussed their solutions for cutting out spending and raising revenue. President Obama expressed his support for tax reforms that would significantly affect the general aviation industry. Before either candidate engages in heated campaign rhetoric, they should carefully look at the importance of general aviation to our economy.
General aviation is an important part of the U.S. and global economy. Nearly 70 percent of all general aviation aircraft worldwide are based in the United States. That’s more than 223,000 airplanes ranging from two-seat training aircraft to intercontinental business jets that put Americans to work. The general aviation industry employs 1.3 million people and contributed more than $150 billion to the U.S. economy last year.
As I continue to meet NATA members, I see the hard work the people in our industry perform every day. Twenty percent of our members have six employees or less and 30 percent have 20 employees or less. Our members are helping to protect and grow jobs in a tough economic environment. Whether it is helping a business leader travel to meet new clients and grow his or her business, or performing maintenance on an airplane before it rushes donated organs to a hospital, our members provide vital services.
The candidates’ comments remind us that we have an opportunity to provide industry leadership and to ensure that our voices are heard in Washington so that aviation continues to play an important role in the economy now and into the future. We must be thoughtful when we work with policymakers to help them understand the shared interests of our members, our industry, and our nation. We have an opportunity to work with both parties in Congress and the Obama Administration on issues important to us and to communicate the value of our industry to the economy. We can be the voice of the general aviation community.
There are more debates to come and the candidates will continue to talk about their plans to fix our economy. But when the dust settles after the November elections and the new Congress begins in January 2013, we will be ready to work with whoever is in the Oval Office and Congress to build a stronger economy and strengthen the general aviation industry.
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