Did you think you'd ever hear someone in GA singing the praises of Meigs-killer Mayor Richard Daley? Believe it.
In a January 11 Chicago Tribune story, the manager of Lansing Municipal Airport (IGQ) in Lansing, Illinois, was quoted as saying, "I want to thank Mayor Daley for tearing down his airport."
AOPA President Phil Boyer responded with a letter blasting Airport Manager Robert Malkas. "I am at a loss for words to express my complete incredulity," Boyer wrote. "How absolutely ludicrous to refer to the aviation tragedy of Meigs Field in such a manner, much less celebrate its demise because of your airport's gain."
"AOPA went to the wall with Daley over Meigs," explained Boyer. "We did everything humanly possible. We couldn't save Meigs, but out of our battle for the airport came such innovation as the AOPA Airport Support Network and the "Meigs Legacy" provision that provides for hefty fines for anyone who closes an airport or runway without giving the required notice. To think there's someone in GA dancing on Meigs' grave is just incomprehensible to us. This is the ultimate disservice to GA and our 403,000 members."
And while some Chicago-area airports are experiencing an increase in traffic due to Meigs' midnight destruction, no one - until now - has found it a reason to celebrate. "I would like to suggest that, rather than a huge influx of planes using Lansing airport during the upcoming Rotary International Convention, you should not be surprised if your airport is boycotted instead," Boyer wrote in his letter.
Nearby alternates to Lansing include New Lexox (1C2), Frankfort (C18), Lewis University (LOT), Joliet Regional (JOT), Schaumburg Regional (06C), Palwaukee Municipal (PWK), and DuPage (DPA).
UPDATE: Phil Boyer received a faxed letter today (January 13, 2005) from Malkas. In his response Malkas told Boyer: "I'm sorry you misunderstood the intention of my comments regarding the closing of Meigs Field. ...The comments were meant to be sarcastic to Mayor Daley's action." On the basis of emails to AOPA since the newspaper story was published, members found Malkas' comments clear... and inexcusable. "We all know the media can twist someone's words," Boyer warned. "You never say something like that, not after what we've all been through. Even if uttered in jest, that quote was way out of line."
January 13, 2005