2003 Press Releases

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NBAA Outraged by Mayor Daley's Midnight Closure of Chicago's Meigs Field

Contact: Cassandra Bosco

Washington, DC, March 31, 2003 - The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is outraged by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's closure of Meigs Field (CGX). Shortly after midnight last night, construction equipment with police escort arrived at Chicago's Meigs Field to address "homeland security issues" at the airport by carving "X"-shaped patterns across the runway. The action effectively closed the airport, stranding more than a dozen aircraft on the ramp. An agreement struck in 2001 between the City of Chicago and the former governor of Illinois, George Ryan, committed to keeping the airport open at least until 2006.

"We are shocked that the mayor has taken this unilateral action without apparent coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Homeland Security and airport users," said NBAA President Jack Olcott. "This action is inconsistent with Federal safety requirements and the normal communication process." The city has yet to announce any plan to allow the stranded aircraft to depart.

A bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 592, sponsored by Congressman William Lipinski (D-IL) and cosponsored by 10 other representatives, sought to codify in Federal law the agreement reached between Daley and Ryan. It is unclear how Meigs' closure will affect this legislation.

NBAA encourages all aviation users to check restrictions relating to airspace and airport closures around Chicago.

NBAA will provide updates as they develop on the Association's home page at www.nbaa.org.

NBAA represents the aviation interests of more than 7,300 companies that own or operate general aviation aircraft as an aid to the conduct of their business, or are involved with business aviation. NBAA Member Companies earn annual revenues approaching $5 trillion — a number that is about half the gross domestic product — and employ more than 19 million people worldwide. The NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention is the world's largest display of civil aviation products and services.

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