April 4, 2003
AOPA is already hearing from members who are planning to boycott the city of Chicago and any business located there until Merrill C. Meigs Field is reopened.
One member who is scheduled to exhibit at a convention in Chicago sent AOPA a copy of a letter he'd sent to Mayor Richard M. Daley's office. "We had planned to bring our personnel and equipment into Meigs Field. It is too late to cancel our attendance due to booth space commitments. However, we will reduce the number of employees attending the event from eight to two. We will not attend future conferences in Chicago and will avoid commercial flights to Chicago or flights that connect in Chicago until Meigs is reopened."
"AOPA will bring all possible pressure to bear on Mayor Daley," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Pilots are letting Daley know that his destruction of this valuable airport has consequences."
Another member who was scheduled to attend a seminar in Chicago next week called and canceled, telling the seminar sponsors that it was because of the Meigs Field closure.
The anger among the general aviation community is not limited to the United States. One member from England wrote, "I have already re-scheduled a flight from the UK to San Diego with United which was due to land in Chicago, and I have informed United of the reason for my change of airline."
A touch of history, affordable flying, unique sightseeing, a good meal, and a community of pilots: Isn’t that what general aviation is all about?
Getting the job done on the local and national levels requires long-term planning, a hands-on approach, and keeping the effort moving, said Sean Collins, AOPA’s Eastern regional manager.
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