As Arizonans prepare to travel during the busy summer vacation season, one of the airports many will jet out of has been recognized for its widespread community outreach and rapid growth.
The Arizona Department of Transportation has named Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport as the 2019 Airport of the Year. The airport won the title twice before, and its last win in 2012 underscores how rapidly the airport has grown. The airport was the 65th busiest in the nation at the time, but has since soared to 32nd, with 288,000 takeoffs and departures a year.
Don Kriz, aeronautics group manager, said the airport was selected for a number of accomplishments that include hosting a presidential visit, outstanding community outreach and being active in local chambers of commerce. Also, it obtained a perfect Part 139 certification and operations inspection from the Federal Aviation Administration. Other highlights include starting programs for airport volunteers and aviation careers education.
“This prestigious award is a testament to the high quality and dedicated employees that have helped create a major economic engine for the State of Arizona,” said Apache Junction Mayor Jeff Serdy, chairman of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority.
Gateway was one of 67 qualified Arizona airports nominated for the award, which is based on accomplishments in aviation advocacy and community relations, airport management, special events and recognition, as well as innovative activities and programs implemented at the airport.
While there are 114 airports across Arizona, 83 airports—including 11 privately owned airfields and 14 Native American owned airports—are identified in ADOT’s system of airports. These 83 airports vary in size and serve different functions in meeting Arizona’s aviation and economic needs. This system of airports brings in approximately $38.5 billion per year to the state’s economy, according to state research. ADOT works with 67 of the 83 airports throughout the federal and state grant process as part of the Airport Development Program.
ADOT’s Aeronautics Group within the Multimodal Planning Division accepts applications and nominations for Airport of the Year. The Aeronautics Group looks at accomplishments in the areas of community relations, airport management, airport maintenance activities, and innovative activities and programs implemented at airports.
For more information about ADOT’s Aeronautics Group and Airport Development Program, visit ADOT’s website [Link: https://azdot.gov/planning/airportdevelopment].