SALT LAKE CITY – The Mayor of Salt Lake City has declared March Aviation Appreciation Month, and data indicates general aviation airports bring in millions of dollars and thousands of jobs for Utah.
General aviation airports may not service the larger airlines most Utahns are familiar with, but companies like Leading Edge Aviation use the smaller airports frequently.
“We just need these airports so that people can stay flying and not interrupt the traffic flow at the big airports,” said Kendall Morrison, a pilot with Leading Edge Aviation.
Kevin Wayman, Leading Edge Aviation, said these airports provide services for emergency responders.
"A lot of people don't realize that these smaller airports are a lifeline for people like AirMed, Angel Flight,” he said.
He added “We get a lot of transit aircraft in and out of here that are doing humanitarian aid or helping people with animals, or flying people that are sick.”
Many people also use general airports to reach business meetings, which allows them to avoid the lines and busy schedules of larger airports.
Randy Ostman, Leading Edge Aviaation, said the smaller airports also help supply new pilots.
“You’ll find flight schools at smaller airports like this all over the place,” he said. “They train pilots, from private pilot rating all the way up through the air transport pilots for the commercial airlines."
Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City mayor, announced Aviation Appreciation Month after a report from the Utah Department of Transportation and the Alliance for Aviation Across America showed general aviation airports provide more than $274 million in economic impact annually. The report also indicates those airports employ about 3,600 people.
Ostman and others said they expect that impact will only increase.