An Impressive Industry, with the Numbers and Stories to Show for It

March 20, 2015
A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study shows that in 2013, general aviation supported $219 billion in total economic output and 1.1 million total jobs in the United States.

At GAMA’s annual State of the Industry press conference recently, we revealed the results of a new industrywide study showing just how far-reaching general aviation’s impact is throughout the United States.

The study, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, showed that in 2013, the most recent year available, general aviation supported $219 billion in total economic output and 1.1 million total jobs in the United States. That’s up from $150 billion in U.S. economic output shown by the industry in 2004-2005, when it employed 1.2 million people. Considering that we’ve been through a severe worldwide economic recession between the two studies, the numbers overall are very impressive.

Our industry’s significant economic impact is being felt in all 50 states. California, for example, has the greatest number of total jobs attributable to general aviation, followed by Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Illinois. Additionally, Kansas has the highest total GDP impact per capita of any state in the country for general aviation, with Connecticut, Alaska, Arizona, and North Dakota rounding out the top five states. These 10 states represent a pretty diverse list.

Dig deeper into the numbers, and general aviation manufacturers employ 102,600 people, whose salaries are at the higher end of the manufacturing wage scale. These salaries are paid to a highly skilled work force that provides for their families and filters dollars into every segment of their local economy.  

Those high-paying salaries don’t just stop at the local level, though. That impact then extends throughout the U.S. economy as employees spend their salaries and pay their taxes — which, via compounding, then support other businesses and their employees and so on.

But to really get a sense of general aviation’s impact in the United States, it helps to look at the effect companies and organizations are having on their local communities. Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, which has created more than 4,700 jobs at its Savannah, GA, headquarters since 2006, donated more than $2.7 million to the United Way Campaign last year. About a quarter of Duncan Aviation’s 2,100-plus-person workforce — including employees in Lincoln, NE; Battle Creek, MI; and Provo, UT — are military veterans. Air Tractor in Olney, TX, directly employs one-tenth of the entire town’s population. In Alaska, general aviation enables many students to get to and from school, delivers groceries to stores, and brings emergency medical care to those in need.

When a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, general aviation sent in nearly 100 aircraft in the first few days to Port-Au-Prince after a local airport opened to humanitarian flights — and has continued to come back to help that country’s rebuilding process. Through the Citation Special Olympic Airlift, general aviation provides flights for hundreds of athletes and their coaches to travel for free to the Special Olympics games. We’ve highlighted some of these compelling stories in a report, “The Wide Wings and Rotors of General Aviation.” Both the PricewaterhouseCoopers study and the narrative report are available at I strongly encourage you to read them.

The study and report make clear that our industry has an impact each day in not only bolstering the U.S. economy but making lives better for people across the world. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of it — and I look forward to our continued growth and generosity in the years ahead.

About the Author

Pete Bunce

Pete Bunce is the president and CEO of GAMA, an international trade association representing more than 100 of the world’s leading manufacturers of general aviation airplanes and rotorcraft, engines, avionics, components and related services. GAMA’s members also operate repair stations, fixed based operations, pilot and maintenance training facilities and they manage fleets of aircraft. You can read more about GAMA’s activities on our Web site at and on our Facebook page at!/General.Aviation.Manufacturers.Association.