Helicopter Association International (HAI) president Roy Resavage has written to members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to press for an amendment to the 2002 transportation appropriations bill that would help protect reliever airports in the Chicago area.
“Reliever airports often enable general aviation aircraft to avoid congested airspace at large airport facilities, and relieving congestion at busy airports for travelers connecting through reliever airports of concern to HAI,” he told lawmakers in the letter.
Resavage stressed to members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees the importance of preserving the language contained in an amendment to the Senate’s appropriations bill by Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.), and he noted that Chicago Meigs Field is an important air-transportation access point for both airplanes and helicopters to Chicago’s business district, which serves to lessen traffic at O’Hare and Midway airports.
Both houses of Congress have passed an FY 2002 transportation appropriations bill, but final language needs to be worked out in a conference committee. HAI believes that reliever airports such as Meigs Field should be part of a plan to lessen congestion, not add to it, as well as provide travelers with increased access to regional jets and vertical-flight aircraft.
HAI has called Meigs important to its members because many depend on the field for access to downtown Chicago for business and air-tour purposes. “Seventy-six percent of the flights Meigs Field handles are for business purposes, while recreational flying and conventions account for the remaining 24 percent,” according to Resavage. “Helicopter operators use Meigs Field as a focal point for aerial operations and business travel.”