In Georgia, it's also an integral part of the mission statement of the Aviation Programs Office, according to Carol Comer, director of the Georgia Department of Transportation's Division of Intermodal, which oversees all areas not related to highways, including aviation.
"Providing adequate airport facilities statewide to support business and industry and economic development is a critical component of our public service mission," she
Willenborg notes that Massachusetts is a bit different than other states in that 11 of its public use airports - or 1/3 - are privately owned by either individuals or companies.
"In most states, most of the airports are publicly owned," he
The private airports are "very successful" and each has its own niche in the state's transportation system, he
All were included in a statewide airport evaluation completed in 2010, the first time such an evaluation had been done since 1989.
"A lot had changed over that time," he
The goal of the evaluation is the preservation of the current airport system, he
"It's very difficult to build a new airport - and if an airport goes away it's even more difficult to get it back," he
"We're not building new airports in Massachusetts."
Georgia also has a Statewide Aviation System Plan, which serves as a blueprint for development of the state's airport system, according to Comer, who also serves on the NASAO board as treasurer.
The plan "assigns an individual role and minimum level of service each airport in the state should strive to achieve," she
"Currently 89% of the state's 104 publicly owned public use airports meet the minimum recommendations for runway length," she
"Everyone can be an ambassador for aviation and their airport by helping others understand the importance of an airport to their local community," Comer
"Not only does the airport support local businesses and industry, but oftentimes can provide lifesaving emergency medical transport, support public safety and aid in disaster relief efforts."
Helping local leadership see the importance of general aviation is critical to your home airport's success, Comer
"It makes a tremendous difference in our ability at the state level to facilitate improvements," she