Putting a dollar value on GA
It’s not always easy to quantify the things you love, and general aviation can be like that. For many
passionate pilots, flying is about freedom and pleasure and adventure and opportunity—not about
dollars and cents.
But in our data driven world, when we want others to recognize the value of general aviation,
talking about passion and freedom just won’t cut it. Lawmakers, regulators, business leaders, and
decision makers of all kinds want hard numbers.
And that’s why a new PricewaterhouseCoopers study of general aviation’s contributions to the U.S.
economy, based on 2013 data, is so important.
The study determined that general aviation supports 1.1 million jobs and contributes $219 billion in
annual economic output in the United States. And these aren’t just any jobs—they’re good jobs
ranging from engineering and manufacturing to service and management roles.
You might ask yourself why this really matters. And for you, the pilot who’s hooked on general
aviation, maybe it doesn’t. But it sure makes a difference when it comes to AOPA’s ability to fight
for your freedom to fly.
When I go before members of Congress to ask for their support, they want to know how general
aviation fits into the larger picture of our national economic and transportation systems. They need
to feel confident that supporting general aviation will benefit their constituents and the nation. This
new study provides clear evidence, in terms of dollars and jobs, that general aviation matters to
millions of Americans, whether or not they fly themselves.
The tough economic times of recent years hit the general aviation community hard. Individual pilots
flying recreationally found they had less money to spend on their passion. Many companies that
use GA for business cut back, too, as they tried to weather the challenging environment. For
airports, FBOs, repair shops, avionics makers, aircraft manufacturers, flight schools, and dozens of
other businesses, that meant a corresponding decline in activity, and sometimes job cuts, too.
But this new study sponsored by AOPA, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and six
other GA organizations, shows that, despite having recently emerged from one of the most difficult
economic environments in the past century, general aviation is coming back and has an important
role to play.
It’s great evidence of just how resilient our community is, and I believe it’s a harbinger of even
better things to come.