GA Flights To Be Restricted At O'Hare

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General aviation's contribution to the effort to ease congestion at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is, as was feared, the reinstatement of slot limitations and reservations. Although a new rule has not been published (we couldn't find it as of Wednesday), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) says that as of Nov. 1 only four GA operations per hour will be permitted at O'Hare between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. The NBAA says the decision was reached at a meeting last Friday between the FAA and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. In an earlier press release, NBAA President Ed Bolen tied the decision directly to the sudden closure of Meigs Field 18 months ago. "Since the overnight destruction of Chicago's Meigs Field (CGX) in 2003, more than 20,000 annual aircraft operations were forced to utilize Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) and O'Hare, the two next closest airports to downtown Chicago," the NBAA said. "This is a classic example of where local decisions at one airport affect other airports in the system," added Bolen. "This should be a wake-up call -- the aviation industry and government entities must look at airport access on a regional and national level, not just on an individual airport level. One obvious solution is to invest more heavily in the reliever airport system." The NBAA expects only a brief comment period after the rule is published and is urging members to comment. It claims GA interests were not consulted in the decision to reinstate the reservation system.