On Friday, Sept. 20, U.S. House General Aviation Caucus Co-Chairs Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and John Barrow (D-Ga.) announced that, for the first time in its history, more than half the House of Representatives had joined the group. The current tally stands at 223 members. The purpose of the House General Aviation Caucus is to inform members and staff about the importance of general aviation to the national economy and transportation system.
“Crossing the 218 mark is a great victory for general aviation,” Graves said. “Education is key to our efforts to highlight the everyday concerns of America’s pilots, so having the majority of the House participating in the caucus is important. General aviation carries 166 million passengers to around 5,000 communities over 27 million flight hours each year, and more than two-thirds of these flights are for business purposes.”
“General aviation plays an important role in Georgia’s economy and across the country,” Barrow said. “This is an important milestone for the industry. Our mission is to inform folks about general aviation, and having a majority of the House of Representatives will help achieve that goal. This is the largest, most bipartisan caucus in Congress, and I’m honored to join with my colleagues to continue to advocate for this industry.”
The Aircraft Electronics Association praised the accomplishment.
“The Aircraft Electronics Association is pleased to see the roster for the General Aviation Caucus continue to grow,” said Paula Derks, president of the AEA. “This bipartisan caucus indicates that Congress not only supports the value of the general aviation industry, but also understands the significant impact this industry contributes to the nation’s overall economy.”
General Aviation is a catch-all category that includes all non-scheduled, non-military aviation. There are more than 223,000 active general aviation aircraft in the U.S., which serve nearly 19,000 small and regional airports – many more than the 500 commercial airports in the U.S. These airports help connect people and industries that do not always have easy access to commercial airports.
The general aviation industry employs nearly 1.3 million workers and contributes more than $150 billion to the U.S. economy annually. In 2009, U.S. general aviation airplane manufacturers delivered 1,587 airplanes worth $9.1 billion with more than 50 percent of total billings tied to exports. In fact, the general aviation industry is one of the few remaining U.S. manufacturing industries that provides a trade surplus for the U.S.
For a complete list of the House General Aviation Caucus members, visit http://www.aea.net/governmentaffairs/gacacusmembers.asp.