Our Opinion: A week to celebrate aviation - The Herald-Independent: Editorial

Our Opinion: A week to celebrate aviation - The Herald-Independent: Editorial

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Our Opinion: A week to celebrate aviation

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Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 11:37 am

Gov. Scott Walker has proclaimed this week, July 29 to Aug. 4 as Wisconsin Aviation Week.

Aviation Week coincides with Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture in Oshkosh. More than half a million people from more than 60 countries attend the seven-day event at Wittman Regional Airport, celebrating the past, present and future in the world of flight.

This week there will be more air traffic over the area as people flock to AirVenture. The 61st annual EAA will bring everything from Jetman to a flying car to World War II history to a screening of the new Disney “Planes” movie. With total attendance of 500,000 and 10,000 airplanes, including 2,500 show planes, EAA AirVenture becomes “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.”

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin (TDAW) have teamed up to promote, educate and celebrate the state’s aviation industry.

According to DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb, the state’s airport system plays a vital role in its transportation needs. The airport system meets business, passenger, freight and recreational needs all around the state.

In 2012, nearly 5.5 million peopled boarded commercial flights in Wisconsin. In addition, more than 107 million pounds of cargo was transported by air last year.

“The aviation industry links our state’s residents and workers to larger national and global economies,” according to TDAW Executive Director Craig Thompson. “Businesses recognize the state’s aviation network is crucial to remain competitive in today’s ever-changing marketplace.”

Wisconsin’s aviation system includes more than 730 landing facilities, of which 133 are public-use airports. The closest facilities are Watertown Municipal Airport and the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison.

Approximately 70 percent of general aviation operations are business related and the other 30 percent are recreational.

In 2012, more than $113 million in federal and state funds supported 86 airport improvement projects in the state.

Wisconsin’s aviation industry supports more than 90,000 jobs that generate nearly $7 billion in annual economic activity and $3.5 billion in personal income.

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