The Honorable Patty Murray
Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Transportation Appropriations
SD-133 Dirksen Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairwoman Murray:
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is the word's largest civil aviation organization representing two thirds of the nation's pilots. On behalf of our 372,000 members, we respectfully request you support the amendment to S.1178 offered by senators Fitzgerald and Inhofe, adding to the language regarding Chicago O'Hare found in Section 315 that reliever and general aviation airports like Meigs Field must be preserved and utilized as part of any comprehensive solution to airport congestion in the Chicago area.
The amendment addresses the many airports that provide relief to Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports, including: Meigs Field, Aurora Municipal, Lansing Municipal, Lewis University, Waukegan Regional, Du Page, Palwaukee, Frankfort, Galt, Dacy, Joliet Park District, Sanger, Clow, Campbell, and Schaumburg.
One of these, Meigs Field, is slated to close in February 2002. Opened in 1948, Merrill C. Meigs Field is an important Chicago-area airport, serving as an important "reliever" for business and general aviation aircraft to congested Midway and O'Hare airports. Its closure will affect air traffic patterns in the entire Chicago region, which already has significant constraints due to the close proximity of Palwaukee, O'Hare, and Midway. Where will the almost 50,000 annual operations at Meigs Field go? The answer is not a pleasant one and is not going to help to solve the congestion problem facing national air travelers who connect through O'Hare and Midway.
We appreciate your consideration of our views as well as the assistance of Senator Durbin in this matter. With runway capacity at a critical stage in the Chicago area, does it make sense to close an operating reliever airport?
July 26, 2001