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Snohomish County airports note decline in aviation

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Courtesy of Harvey Field
General aviation airports in Snohomish County, like Harvey Field, have seen a decline in the number of private aircraft flights due to a lingering recession and high fuel prices.

In the past decade the number of takeoffs and landings at Paine Field has dropped by nearly half.

The Snohomish County airport at Everett serves Boeing and aircraft maintenance businesses. But, most of the decline is among small private aircraft.

Jamelle Garcia is the executive director of the Washington Aviation Association, and he runs an airport management business based in Auburn:

"You've got to put gas in your car, you've got to fix the leak in your roof, you've got to clothe your kids and feed them."

He tells the Daily Herald of Everett that between the economy and fuel prices…

"…It's kind of a double whammy, and aviation is the first to suffer and the last to recover," he said. "People really think two and three and four times before they decide to take a private airplane."

The price of aviation fuel is more than $6 a gallon, roughly double what it was four years ago, flyers say.

The Herald reports that similar declines at Arlington Airport and Harvey Field in Snohomish are part of a national trend. Aviation is affected by high fuel prices. Fewer people are learning to fly and flying their own planes.

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