NBAA Objects to Slot-Based Access Into O’Hare; Calls for Investment in Reliever Airport System

Contact: Cassandra Bosco

Washington, DC, September 9, 2004 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) expressed frustration over a DOT and FAA decision to limit general aviation flights into Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) by reinstituting the airport reservation office (ARO).

“While we appreciate the need to address capacity concerns at O’Hare, restricting access to one particular airport without understanding and addressing the implications for the entire air traffic system is unwise,” noted NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen in written testimony to be submitted to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Aviation, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Business aircraft represent a very small percentage of operations at major airports such as O’Hare,” noted Bolen. “NBAA has been aware of increased congestion at our nation’s airports for years and recognizes that steps must be taken to mitigate that congestion. However, it is critical that we understand the consequences of airport restrictions and the domino effect they have on airports and airspace throughout the system.”

Since the overnight destruction of Chicago’s Meigs Field (CGX) in 2003, more than 20,000 annual aircraft operations were forced to utilize Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) and O’Hare, the two next closest airports to downtown Chicago. “This is a classic example of where local decisions at one airport affect other airports in the system,” added Bolen. “This should be a wake-up call – the aviation industry and government entities must look at airport access on a regional and national level, not just on an individual airport level. One obvious solution is to invest more heavily in the reliever airport system.”

NBAA represents the aviation interests of more than 7,700 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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