NATA chairman Curt Castagna recently joined president and CEO Tim Obitts and senior VP Ryan Waguespack in visiting regional airports in Bakersfield, California and Elko, Nevada as part of the association's General Aviation Advancing America initiative.
“General Aviation Advancing America is consistent with our vision for collaboration between airport sponsors, aviation businesses and communities,” explains Castagna. “NATA's board has prioritised initiatives to highlight the immense value of general aviation in serving communities across the country, many of which would be devastated by the loss of commercial air service. General aviation businesses in these areas have, and will continue, to play a key role in the nation, preserving jobs and delivering medical, fire and agricultural support to their communities, as well as a host of other valuable services to a broad range of industries that rely primarily on them and the airport for support.”
On 19 August, NATA's leadership was welcomed to Loyd's Aviation at Meadows Field airport in Bakersfield, California. BFL serves more than 1.4 million people in or near the southern San Joaquin Valley. A NATA-supported PricewaterhouseCoopers study, Contribution of General Aviation to the US Economy in 2018, notes that general aviation across California supports an economic impact of more than $32.7 billion, more than 148,000 jobs and over $11.3 billion in labour income.
“In Bakersfield, we heard positive news of a consistent uptick in flight activity, however, we also heard international training is all but decimated. We were pleased to experience first-hand the engagement of Mayor Goh and other local community stakeholders, as they really understand the airport's value and will be instrumental in working as partners in continuing to promote its value and contribute to its success as BFL navigates through the impact of COVID-19 and beyond,” says Waguespack.
Ryan Crowl, Bakersfield host and president of Loyd's Aviation, noted the effectiveness of the association's efforts. “I thank NATA and Tim and Ryan for including Bakersfield in the GA Advancing America tour. NATA's support for our business has been incredible, especially in 2020. Last week, we were able to reinforce local relationships and hopefully begin forming some new ones.”
“NATA is grateful to our members who are supporting General Aviation Advancing America in a variety of ways. Our hosts and guests have been gracious and enthusiastic, and the open dialogue on the value of general aviation and airports could not have come at a better time. We hope that the positive energy and impact of this initiative is felt throughout the industry and country for time to come,” concludes Obitts.