By Kim Stevens
With much to celebrate, including the success of a $58 billion aviation industry in Arizona, the Arizona Airports Association (AzAA) and its partners hosted the 8th Annual Aviation Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, January 15, 2013. The event, which attracted close to four hundred attendees including more than 150 legislators and staff, was open to the public and occupied the Senate lawn at the Arizona State Capitol from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
"We were very pleased that Aviation Day was so well attended," said Jennifer Maples, Aviation Day Event Chair and Past President of AzAA. "We greatly appreciate our guest speaker, Representative [Karen] Fann, Chair of the House Transportation Committee, as she reiterated to the group the importance of aviation to our state." With the legislature having been sworn in the day before the event, Maples said they couldn't have asked for better timing to get in front of law makers at the onset of what they hope will be a productive legislative session.
The event provided information about Arizona's aviation industry and the multitude of activities and businesses that it supports. Earlier that day the Governor's office released a proclamation naming Tuesday, Arizona Aviation Day. Signed by Governor Brewer, the proclamation recognized that the state has a significant interest in the continued vitality of general aviation, aerospace, aircraft manufacturing, education institutions, aviation organizations, community airports and operators.
Displays at the event included three helicopters provided by Guidance Aviation in Prescott and the Yavapai County Sheriffs Office, a light fixed-wing aircraft, a hot air balloon and table top displays with information about the numerous private and public-sector aviation contributors. Aircraft owners and pilots, airport managers, aviation manufacturers, educators, members of the Arizona's military community and many others were on-hand to discuss the importance and impact of aviation in Arizona. Legislators and their staff from districts throughout Arizona attended the event.
“Arizona airports look forward to Aviation Day at the Capitol every year to share with legislators and their staff members the importance of aviation and aerospace in Arizona,” said Corinne Nystrom, AzAA President and Airport Director at Mesa’s Falcon Field Airport. “Airports are vital players in our national transportation system and depend on State funding to build and maintain safe runways, taxiways, and other key infrastructure improvements. In return for this public investment, airports and aviation businesses contribute $58 billion annually to Arizona’s economy.”
Arizona is home to 83 airports consisting of publicly owned, privately owned, and Native American airports. Maples said the new economic impact numbers demonstrate that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. "There is such a wide variety of aviation activity in Arizona which has a tremendous impact on the State's economy and depends upon a strong network of airports to be successful." As an industry, Maples said they are fortunate the State legislature provides bi-partisan support. "They recognize it for the significant economic engine it is."
About Aviation Day
Arizona Aviation Day is the collaborative effort of numerous aviation industry groups from across Arizona. Sponsors include the National Business Aviation Association, City of Phoenix Aviation Department, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Arizona Business Aviation Association, Phoenix Air National Guard Patriots, Arizona Pilots Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and the Arizona Airports Association.
The Arizona Airports Association (AzAA) was formed in 1979 to bring together the representatives of public and private airports and others interested in the general benefit of aviation to provide information, expertise and support to all those in the State's aviation industry. Further, the Association works to foster public recognition of airports and the airport executive profession, and to assist in the future development of air transportation in Arizona.