NBAA Testifies on Meigs before Illinois Governor Ryan

Contact: Cassandra Bosco

Washington, DC, August 27, 2001 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Senior Vice President, Government & Public Affairs Pete West will testify this evening before Illinois Governor George Ryan regarding Illinois airport capacity issues, specifically Chicago’s Meigs Field. Meigs has been targeted for closure by Chicago Mayor Daley.

There is a clear crisis in runway capacity in the United States,” stated West. “Now is not the time to be pulling runways out from under Chicago and our national aviation system.”

In saturated urban markets, the FAA encourages the development of a network of airports surrounding large primary service airports such as O’Hare and Midway, designed to provide less congested alternatives for general aviation aircraft,” noted West. “These reliever airports play an important role in reducing primary airport congestion and runway gridlock.

As Chicago’s only downtown reliever airport, Meigs mainly serves general aviation – with nearly 38,000 operations, 90 percent of them general aviation operations – and brings substantial economic benefit to the region. These flights have been valuable to the state of Illinois, which conducted a 1996 study finding that over half of Meigs users originated from outside the state. A separate user survey in 1993 indicated that nearly 80 percent of Meigs’ traffic was business or convention-related, meaning that they brought business to Illinois’ economy. This survey also found that if Meigs closed, more than 63 percent of general aviation traffic would relocate to Midway Airport, representing an additional 21,000 general aviation operations at an already busy airport. Another 1,300 general aviation flights would be relocated to O’Hare, one of the world’s busiest airports. Closing Meigs also could possibly add as many as 2,000 additional commercial operations annually either to Midway or O’Hare.

Meigs Field presents Illinois and the City of Chicago with the best possible long-term, low-cost solution to maintaining and even increasing capacity within the current aviation system,” concluded West.

NBAA represents the aviation interests of over 6,500 companies which 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.