and Success in Numbers
Ask businessman Steve Whitney
what would have happened at Chicago's Meigs Field if a proactive organization
hadn't stepped up to protect his airport and you can imagine his answer.
Meigs Field would already be nothing more than a fictional airport on
Microsoft's Flight Simulator computer program. Retired airline captain
and aviation writer Barry Schiff would say the same thing about the
aviation community's battle to preserve Santa Monica Airport in California.
Ask that same question of others who organized efforts to protect their
interests at other airports across the country and the answer will most
likely be the same.
the people with the greatest amount at stake get involved (that's us!),
and get others involved because they too share some stake in the airport's
operation, an even greater number of airports will join the ranks of
those that today are strip malls and housing developments.
Building alliances with groups,
organizations, and people beyond airport boundaries is vital to any
effort to save an airport. This is just as important as building formal,
and visible, support groups. These groups and alliances show the airport
is worth something to more than just those with a vested interest in
using it to fly.
Linking up with representatives
of the business world -- those with great influence on the community
at large such as members of the Chambers of Commerce and other business
associations, and other stakeholders that make up the fabric of a community
-- offers a far greater ability to influence local leaders than by working
with just the airport community itself. Such alliances add credibility
and allow people to view the issues in a context that is beyond what
they might perceive as our self-interest. It's the third-party allies
and their own individual constituencies that can help sway opinion leaders
and those they represent.
who's been involved in protecting an airport's future acknowledges that
someone has to take on the responsibility of organizing a group that
crosses aviation boundaries and represents a cross-section of the community,
one that understands the importance of a facility to its community.
To locate groups that might
have faced situations similar to the one you're experiencing at your
airport, check the state listings
under "Statewide Aviation Groups/Organizations" and "Airport
Support Groups." And if you can't find one, consider forming one
using the guidance available from many of the organizations we list.
faced by the airports of today aren't that different from those
faced more than 20 years ago, like the effort to close Santa Monica
Airport (CA). To see how the problems of yesterday are the same
as those of today, and how the efforts that led to success then
are similar to those of today, see the stories in our Resources