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September 19, 2001

Governor Ryan Calls on Congress to Assist the Airline Industry
Convenes business and tourism leaders to rally federal support

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today called on the United States Congress to take swift action to stabilize the reeling airline industry and prevent further job cuts for the airlines, aircraft manufacturers and tourism industries.

"Today, we are calling upon Congress to pass a common sense package to compensate the airlines for what they lost during last week's emergency situation. They need a cash infusion to get through this crisis," said Governor Ryan.

Gov. Ryan met with leaders of the business and tourism industries to rally support for federal legislation aimed at providing grants and loans to the airlines to prevent them from going out of business. The Governor also said the nation's governors are speaking with one voice, urging the White House and Congress to swiftly pass a relief package.

Aviation is a major economic engine for Illinois and the Midwest region. In addition to the more than 50,000 Illinois residents employed directly by the airlines, more than 500,000 people work in related industries from aircraft manufacturers to food, beverage and retail services. Tourism is among the key industries that rely on a vital aviation industry. Tourism in Illinois is a $23.7 billion business generating a payroll of more than $14.7 billion for industry employees.

For the year 2000, total direct, indirect and influenced travel spending in Illinois reached almost $43.9 billion in 2000. Chicago remained the nation's top city for business travel, and business-related trips accounted for 33 percent of all Illinois travel.

Ninety-eight of Illinois' 102 counties registered an increase in tourism-related spending.

Gov. Ryan said he is confident Congress and the President will solve this airline crisis and that he will continue finishing his aviation plan to meet the region's future needs.

"We may have been distracted in recent days, but we have not been deterred one bit from building for the future," Gov. Ryan said. "That means modernizing O'Hare, with some of the elements of Mayor Daley's plan, that means building Peotone, that means keeping Meigs open. We will announce details later. But I am telling you this today so that you know I am confident in the future, confident that now, more than ever we need to ensure we have the ability to build an economy stronger than before, for our children and our grandchildren."

Joining Gov. Ryan at the news conference were representatives of business, labor and the tourism industries as well as Illinois Lt. Governor Corinne Wood. All emphasized the importance of maintaining a thriving airline industry that creates jobs and opportunity for the region.


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