Illinois Division of Aeronautics Recognizes Outstanding Airports

Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider today congratulated the "2013 Airport of the Year" award recipients.  Eight Illinois airports were recognized at the Illinois Aviation Conference, held in Moline earlier this week, for their accomplishments throughout the year, including an outstanding partnership with the state of Illinois and their commitment to customer satisfaction.

"We are very proud of the commitment made to ensure the comfort and safety of Illinois travelers," said Schneider.  "These airports set the bar for excellence and we are happy to partner with them to continue to advance aviation and further safe and efficient air travel throughout Illinois."

Each year, representatives of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) Division of Aeronautics convene to determine which airports should receive special recognition as "Airport of the Year."  The criteria for the award selections are based on cooperation and coordination with the Division of Aeronautics by airport management and their staff, the facility safety record, promotion of seminars and aviation events and maintenance of the facility.

This year’s awards recipients are as follows:

•             Chicago Rockford International Airport (Rockford, IL) – "Primary Airport of the Year"

•             Chicago Executive Airport (Wheeling & Prospect Heights, IL) – "Reliever of the Year"

•             DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport (DeKalb, IL) – "General Aviation – Category ‘A’ Airport of the Year"

•             Illinois Valley Regional Airport (Peru, IL) – "General Aviation – Category ‘B’ Airport of the Year"

•             Percival Springs (Watson, IL) – "Private – Open to the Public Airport of the Year"

•             St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Regional Health Center (Mt. Vernon, IL) – "Heliport of the Year – Ground Facility"

•             St. John’s Hospital (Springfield, IL) – "Heliport of the Year – Rooftop Facility"

•             The Flight Deck Bar and Grill (located at the Rochelle Municipal Airport) – "Five Prop –  On-Airport Restaurant of the Year"

The Division recognizes airports in the following 7 categories:

•             Primary Airports

o             Airports with annual enplanements of 10,000 or more passengers.

•             Reliever Airports

o             Airports primarily designed to serve General and Corporate Aviation in large metropolitan areas, such as Chicago and St. Louis.

•             General Aviation Airports – Category A

o             Airports which accommodate aircraft needing more than 6,000 feet of runway length.      

•             General Aviation Airports – Category B

o             Airports important to the aviation system serving aircraft requiring 6,000 or less feet of runway.

•             Private – Open to the Public Airports

o             Airports that are privately owned and don’t rely on federal or state funds to operate.  These airports have to meet the same safety requirements as publicly owned airports.

•             Heliports (Two this year, a rooftop and a ground)

o             All categories including: Public and Private Use Heliports, Hospital Heliports, and RLA Heliports.

•             Restaurant of the Year

o             The Division’s "Five Prop Award" for fine dining on the airport.

The Illinois State Aviation System is one of the largest in the nation – it’s comprised of over 870 individual landing facilities.  Illinois is home to everything from O’Hare International Airport, to Municipal General Aviation Airports, to private grass strips in farmers’ backyards.  IDOT’s Division of Aeronautics assists with the creation, improvement and continued operations of both private and public airports through financial assistance (public airports), inspection and technical oversight.  The Division also provides aviation safety and education programs to pilots, aircraft owners, mechanics and industry professionals.  According to a 2012 Statewide Aviation Economic Impact Study, aviation contributes nearly $41 billion annually to the Illinois economy.


For more information about IDOT’s Division of Aeronautics, please go to