WICHITA — Last week’s USA Today article, “Feds keep little-used airports in business,” continues to garner loud outcry. The latest to join the protest is Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer.
Brewer along with mayors in Arizona and Iowa sent a joint letter to the editor of USA Today calling the article one that “missed a multitude of facts – most of which contradict the author’s apparent predetermined thesis.”
The article says general aviation airports serve only private pilots.
“The truth is that the FAA has made it a national priority to maintain these airports,” the mayors’ letter said. They’re used by the National Guard, law enforcement, air ambulances, search and rescue operators, flight schools, small businesses, charitable organizations, farmers and ranchers and others. “These airports are a literal lifeline to gain access to resources, businesses and medical care.”
The article’s assessment that the funds are an “unfair subsidy” to small airports is a “downright insult to rural America,” it said. Besides providing a lifeline to thousands of communities without commercial air service, general aviation generates 1.2 million jobs and $150 billion in economic impact to the U.S., the letter said. In Kansas, it contributes $7.2 billion a year to the state economy and employ thousands of people.