Arizona and Illinois DOTs Name ‘Airports of the Year’

Reflecting the importance and vitality of state aviation system, the Illinois Department of Transportation and Arizona Department of Transportation recently named “Airports of the Year” award winners for their respective states.

[Above photo by the Illinois DOT]

Six airports received “Airport of the Year” awards from the Illinois DOT – presented during the Illinois Public Airports Association Fall Conference in Galena – in recognition for their accomplishments, including outstanding partnership with the agency and a strong commitment to customer safety and satisfaction.

The winners are: Willard Airport in Champaign; Lewis University Airport; Mount Vernon Outland Airport; Salem-Leckrone Field; Tri-County Airport in Yates City; and Vertiport Chicago.                                     

Other award considerations include cooperation and coordination with the state; safety record; maintenance of the facility; and promotion of aviation and educational events.

“Aviation plays a key role in moving passengers and freight around the state, country, and world,” noted Illinois DOT Secretary Omer Osman in a statement.

“Our aviation partners, from massive international airports to smaller regional facilities to a single grass landing strip, are vital to our state’s economy and mobility,” he said. “These awards represent our thanks for the services they provide.”

Illinois is home to 100 public-use airports and heliports, which supports more than 492,000 jobs, with a combined payroll of $21.9 billion and a total economic impact of $95.4 billion. Across the state, Illinois DOT noted that there are over 700 aviation facilities, including heliports; balloon, glider, and ultra-light landing facilities; and grass landing strips.

Photo by Arizona DOT

Meanwhile, in Arizona, community engagement and facility upgrades helped make Colorado City Municipal Airport the state’s “Airport of the Year” for 2023 – an airport owned and operated by the Town of Colorado City. 

The Aeronautics Group within the Arizona Department of Transportation said in a statement that Colorado City’s airport expansion of a Fly-in and Airshow attended by 1,400 people, Facebook and Instagram promotion of events, a new logo submitted by a member of the public, and school tours attended by more than 300 area students as some of the reasons for receiving “Airport of the Year” honors.

In addition, the airport spruced up its grounds, added environmentally friendly landscaping around the terminal, installed new perimeter fencing, developed plans for 13 new hangars and upgraded vending machines in its terminal to accept credit cards and Apple Pay. Many of the airport’s upgrades were volunteer efforts. 

This is the second time Colorado City Municipal Airport has been named the state’s Airport of the Year; the first was in 1992. It is one of 67 airports across Arizona that are publicly owned and publicly operated, the Arizona DOT noted.

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