Seeking escape from pervasive bad-new morosity I quickly discovered some really good and uplifting aviation activity in Georgia, which recently launched a two-part promotion, Georgia Airports Mean Business. Along with this YouTube video, which the state also distributes on DVD, is the printed and online 2011 Georgia Statewide Airport Economic Impact Study, which covers the states 104 public-owned, public-use fields.
In 1992 the economic contributions of Georgia’s airports was $16.8 billion; it’s grown to $62.8 billion, with 471,100 jobs with a $17.8 billion annual payroll. But that’s not the really good news. That’s reserved for the impetus for the branded promotion effort.
“Those of us in aviation, whether we’re pilots or on the infrastructure side, we get it,” says Carol Comer, director of intermodal transportation (aviation, rail, and waterway) for the state department of transportation. “The harder sell is for the family in a rural area who may have never been on an airliner, much less general aviation airplane.”
Business aviation was the perfect way to show people how GA and their local airport touched their daily lives. Watch the video and you’ll see a diverse group from a media conglomerate CEO to city leaders to an onion salesman. Their common denominator is aviation (and they are all members of NBAA and the Georgia Business Aviation Association).
Even more promising is that this two-part effort was a predetermined plan, not some happy happenstance. A single firm did all the work, and during the planning, someone wondered where access to airport ranked when a business picks a hometown. “So we asked,” says Comer, and convenient proximity to commercial and GA airports ranked in the Top 10.
When allocating limited airport improvement funds, among many factors, the state weighs the airport’s return by economic development, the retention of an existing company, or the attraction of a new one, when making its decisions. A nearby airport that serves is aviation needs is “is important for business,” says Comer, “and business brings jobs.” Well said, and a plan well executed. – Scott