Bill Will Secure Industry
January 29, 2009
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  • Bill will secure industry

    12/10/08 While the big airlines continue to hold off on providing service to towns such as Hot Springs, El Dorado and Jonesboro, general aviation continues to serve these and over 80 other communities across Arkansas, providing a critical lifeline between businesses, medical services, farmers and the small communities they would not be able to access without general-aviation aircraft. In fact, general-aviation airports contribute millions to Arkansas’ economy. With the recent economic downturn, small businesses that use general aviation, like the rest of the U.S., have already had to cut back on their flying. This has had the concomitant effect of putting people out of work. These are not just pilots and flight crews that are being laid off, but also service providers and maintainers. Additionally, many pilots have been forced to reduce their flying for charitable groups such as Angel Flight, which transports terminally ill patients to specialized treatment centers across the country. The cost of this kind of loss may not be able to be measured. However, there is good news because legislation that could help restore these critical general aviation flights has been created and much of the hard work has been done. Both House and Senate committees have passed FAA reauthorization proposals that would provide critical funding for improvement to airports used by all aviation as well as desperately needed funding for the modernization of our nation’s air traffic control system. The Senate must stop using stopgap funding and vote on this bill so that we can secure this crucial funding before it expires on March 31. RICK LANMAN Mena

    Date: 2008-12-10