NY Aviation Leaders Promote Airports, Aviation, Economic Development, Jobs

ALBANY, NY (03/19/2012)(readMedia)-- Airport managers and other aviation industry leaders traveled to Albany to meet with state lawmakers to discuss the aviation sector's leading role in the economy of New York State.

"The significance of aviation's contribution to the State's economy and workforce needs to be recognized by policymakers," said Chad Nixon, President of the New York Aviation Management Association (NYAMA). "Our industry is responsible for over $50 billion in annual economic activity and employs nearly 400,000 state residents, generating over $4.5 billion in state and local tax revenue annually." Mr. Nixon explained.

NYAMA wants the Governor and Legislators to know that, despite this outstanding contribution, further job growth and economic development is hindered by the lack of state investment in aviation infrastructure. Also, stifling tax policies make it extremely difficult for NY's aviation sector to effectively compete with neighboring states for aircraft and the jobs that go with them.

According to the New York State Department of Transportation, New York's airports need between $20 million-$30 million annually in order to maintain current facilities and levels of service. The state budget proposals so far have no state funding for this purpose.

"New York airports must have a portion of the revenues they generate for the state returned to aviation in the form of state assisted economic and business capital development projects through a dedicated annual funding source," Mr. Nixon urged.

New state funding for airports is especially critical this year as the recently enacted federal FAA Reauthorization reduced the federal share of funding for airports from 95% to 90%. NYAMA is concerned that the amount of funding set aside by the state in the proposed budget will not be enough to meet the local share and maximize federal aviation dollars to New York.

"The $4 million currently budgeted by New York State to cover half of the "local share" of federal airport projects is expected to be well short of what will be necessary to ensure that all available federal funding for airport projects will be utilized going forward," Mr. Nixon warned.

In addition to restoring critical aviation funding in the state budget, NYAMA is seeking the enactment of the "New York Aviation Jobs Act," as a way to stimulate the location of more revenue-producing business jets in the state. Since 2002, New York has lost nearly 700 based aircraft due in large part to more favorable tax treatment and aggressive marketing and airport-development strategies undertaken by other states in the Northeast.

A State transportation department study on the impacts of aviation finds that direct revenue impacts per business jet are up to five direct jobs and approximately $1 million in spending in the communities where the planes are located. Attracting more business and corporate aviation to airports is a key to increasing airport revenues and generating jobs, according to the department.

"The absence of meaningful state funding, uncompetitive state aviation tax policies and the low profile given New York airports and aviation industries by state economic development officials and policymakers, leads to a perception among investors that New York is unfriendly to aviation," said Nixon. "This perception has contributed to the loss of hundreds of general aviation based aircraft in New York, 700 since 2002," Mr. Nixon charged. "It's demonstrably easier for an owner or business to locate their planes and flight departments in other states and just fly in and out of New York to do business. We want the planes, jobs, economic activity and state and local revenues here!"

The New York Aviation Management Association (NYAMA) has nearly 13,000 members and affiliate members and represents over 120 commercial service and general aviation airports, fixed based operators, consultants, engineers and other aviation industries and professionals who believe that serious economic development efforts at the state and regional level necessitate strong public investment in our aviation assets and facilities.