Meigs Field Airport Court Actions Moving Forward
Nearly a month after Chicago Mayor Richard M.
Daley destroyed the runway at Merrill C. Meigs Field, even as court
cases to force the airport's reopening get under way, the
public-relations battle appears to be going general aviation's
Forbes magazine publisher Rich Karlgaard took a swipe at Mayor
Daley in his April 28 column. Under the headline "Mayor Daley's Big
Goof," he wrote, "This little jewel of an airport was an asset to
Chicago's business community. It would have become more so in the
years ahead." That's because of the new small jets coming online.
These jets, particularly when chartered as "air limos" will be
ideally suited to business travelers, and Meigs would have been the
idea airport for service to Chicago. "Meigs Field was the perfect
airport to serve tomorrow's air limos," Karlgaard told a national,
business audience. "Unwisely, Chicago has surrendered a big
Over the weekend, both of Chicago's major daily
newspapers, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, carried
stories about Daley's (dorky looking guy pictured right) secret
meetings with more than a dozen officials about closing Meigs
during the 10 days leading up to the midnight raid. "If there was
time for meetings, there was time to inform the public," said AOPA
President Phil Boyer. "It's further proof that the mayor found it
more expedient to blindside his opponents than to use the
On Tuesday, AOPA received formal notification of the city's
long-expected motion to dismiss AOPA's federal lawsuit against the
closure. The suit claims the city of Chicago violated federal
regulations by not giving 90 days' notice of the airport's closure
or 30 days' notice of termination of instrument procedures. A
hearing on the city's motion is scheduled for Monday, May 12.
News of the mayor's meetings came as a result of an Illinois
state judge ordering Daley's office to reply to written questions
from the Friends of Meigs in a separate state lawsuit. Friends of
Meigs alleges that the mayor's office violated Illinois' Open
Meetings Act. Daley's office countered that since the people he met
with do not constitute an official board, the meetings were not
subject to that law.
Meanwhile, AOPA's warnings about negative ripple effects at
Chicago's two air carrier airports, O'Hare and Midway, are
beginning to come true. Residents living near Midway are
complaining to city officials about increased noise at the airport
due to increased GA traffic since Meigs was closed.