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CHAPTER 6 Community Outreach 6.1 Introduction New generation GA aircraft provide both opportunities and challenges for airport operators in community outreach. The press generated by these aircraft has raised the awareness of GA. The goal of the airport operator's community outreach program should be to use this awareness to formulate a positive message for the airport. This is especially important for communities in which these aircraft represent first-time business jet operations. A well thought out communi- cation and education program is important to managing community expectations and fostering good relationships with the community. Community outreach is not only a way to educate the public on new generation aircraft, but an opportunity to remind the public of the airport and its important role in the community as a transportation and economic development asset. It is an opportunity to build good will for the airport. There are four key components in a community outreach program: audience, message, medium, and timeframe. If there is no existing community outreach program, it may increase the responsibility of an airport operator; however, protecting the airport and promoting its future may be one of the most important roles of the airport operator. A community outreach program does not need to be expensive, but it does require some effort. The three main reasons to undertake a community outreach program are as follows: Inform and Educate. Increase better understanding of the value of the airport to the commu- nity; inform the community about new generation aircraft characteristics; and obtain com- munity support for the airport and users. Gather Information. Gather information about local needs and concerns. Establish Credibility. Establish the airport operator as a credible resource; build good will for the airport by establishing a reputation of being fair and honest. 6.2 The Audience In a community outreach program, it is important to build as many bridges as possible between the airport and those people and organizations in the community that can influence the airport's success. The potential audience is broad and should cover the airport's catchment area discussed in Chapter 3. Table 6-1 identifies potential audience groups. When reaching beyond the airport users, local civic associations can be a good place to start because many hold regular meetings and may be in need of speakers. Along with the target audiences, the airport operator may find that there is an airport oppo- sition group. Opposition groups should not be excluded from community outreach efforts. 57