There are over 5,000 public airports in the U.S. – fewer than 400 of them provide scheduled airline service. A vast majority of airports are small uncontrolled airfields located in small rural communities. In the U.S., pilots fly over 24 million flight hours, of which two-thirds are for business purposes. Airports allow aircraft owners, especially the business community, to travel precisely to their final destination, often small remote towns, and to arrive and depart on their own schedules.
Pilots and the general aviation industry represent affluent and easily identifiable consumers – and they are an untapped economic resource for communities. Aviation upports $219 billion in total economic output and 1.1 million total jobs in the United States. More than $24 billion in new general aviation aircraft were delivered in 2016. In contrast, the U.S. Recreational Boating Market was valued at $20.5 billion in 2017 (Global Market Insights). There are approximately 211,000 active general aviation aircraft and 609,000 active pilots in the United States – 69,333 active pilots within Ohio and the five closest states. Globally, airlines will require over 675,000 new pilots within the next 20 years.