Carl Brewer, the mayor of Wichita, Kansas, has sent a letter to Barack Obama asking the President to lay off criticism of corporate aviation:
March 3, 2009
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Re: President’s comments on corporate jets
Dear Mr. President:
During your Feb. 24 address to Congress, you appropriately criticized corporate CEOs who “disappear on private jets.” I share your concern about the poor public image conveyed by such misuse.
And, while I personally agree that corporate abuse of business jet travel cannot be tolerated in these current economic times, it is important to remember that business jets are still an essential part of a successful national business plan. It is also important to remember that the responsible use of corporate jets will help spur our national economic recovery, maximizing productivity by minimizing travel times for key personnel.
It would be tragic if that essential business fundamental was lost amid the sensational news coverage of ill-advised corporate jet travel by a tiny percentage of corporate America.
As mayor of this great Midwestern city that takes great pride in the title of “Air Capital of the World”, I urge you to consider the big picture when referencing the misuse of corporate jets. Wichita’s long-term relationship with the aircraft manufacturing industry could be severely damaged if the corporate jet market is marginalized in the national debate over our struggling economy. But the loss of jobs locally in Wichita is only a small part of the national loss if corporate jet travel is unfairly disparaged.
Business jet manufacturing is a major part of our local and state economy, but it doesn’t stop there. Maintenance of Air Force One is performed right here in Wichita, Kansas. And every job created in the aircraft industry spins off nearly three other jobs that provide a great quality of life. Those numbers are too important to forget as we work together to fix our ailing economy.
I’d encourage you to take a first-hand look at this economic engine that pays off with high-quality jobs for our community. I would be honored to personally escort you on a tour of our local manufacturers. Most importantly, I stand ready to assist you in meeting the great challenges that lie ahead.
Thank you for your consideration.
Mayor Carl Brewer
I can think of a few other elected officials who need to get the message here.