02/16/05 — Aviation critical to economic development, says Perdue

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Aviation critical to economic development, says Perdue

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 16, 2005 2:01 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Aviation is critical to economic development in eastern North Carolina, says Lt. Governor Beverly Perdue.

Ms. Perdue spoke Tuesday at the Duplin County Airport. The airport was the site of a meeting of the state Aeronautics Council. The Duplin Airport Commission was the host for the event.

"We're in the 21st century, whether we like it or not," Ms. Perdue told the 60 people gathered in the airport's new hangar. "Technology access has got to change."

Ms. Perdue said that it is important to make aviation accessible to people of eastern North Carolina.

"The state is ripe for the maintenance and repair industry," she said. Four aviation maintenance schools are in North Carolina, she pointed out. One is at Wayne Community College.

She said that the state has nine airlines in operation, and four of them are providing international service. There are 15,000 pilots and 7,000 registered private aircraft across the state.

"Aviation started right here in this state," Ms. Perdue said, referring to the WrightBrothers flight in 1903. "Think about those brothers on that cold morning."

During the meeting, the Duplin school system's director of media and technology, Pam Godwin, presented a photograph taken of the six crew members of an Atlantic Southeast Airlines.

The crew flew 51 eighth-grade students and their teachers and parents to the First in Flight Centennial celebration at Kitty Hawk in December. Four of the children and their parents attended Tuesday's meeting.

The eastern part of the state needs passenger jet service, said Ms. Godwin after the meeting.