DECATUR – At nearly 100 airports and helipads for public use across the State, Decatur Airport was named the major airport of the year by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
âIt makes us feel good here at the airport,â said Tim Wright, airport manager for Decatur. “It’s been a while, so it’s a great feeling to be able to be recognized for the main airport of the year.”
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During the Illinois Public Airports Association’s fall conference in Galena, 12 airports – including Decatur Airport – received awards for their accomplishments and their commitment to safety and customer satisfaction.
Reaching his 75th birthday at his current location, Wright said it was the fifth time Decatur Airport has received such an honor from the state and the first time it has won an award since 2003.
After bringing jet service back to the community over a year ago, Wright said their boarding numbers – passengers boarding a plane – have steadily increased, but they have seen low numbers here and there with the pandemic still there.
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âAviation has been in Decatur for 111 years, and the first flight down the state of Illinois was here on July 14, 1910,â Wright said. âDecatur has a rich history in Illinois aviation and it is a great feeling for airport personnel to be recognized for our accomplishments and dedication.â
Award considerations were based on cooperation and coordination with the State, the facility’s safety record, maintenance of the facility, and the promotion of aeronautical and educational events.
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Due to the pandemic that canceled last year’s conference, awards have been given to airports whose achievements have been made in the past two years.
âAviation is one of the key elements in making Illinois the transportation hub of North America,â said Illinois Secretary of Transportation Omer Osman. âOur aviation partners are very proud of the work they do to support transportation, jobs and the quality of life in their communities. These awards recognize their efforts and those of the entire Illinois aviation community. “
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According to the IDOT press release, Illinois has nearly 3,000 aircraft registered with the Federal Aviation Administration and the airport system provides more than 492,000 jobs statewide.