Each year, staff from the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics convenes to determine which Illinois airports should receive special recognition. Selections are primarily based on the following criteria:
• The cooperation and coordination with the Division of Aeronautics and the Federal Aviation Administration by airport management and their staff.
• The facility’s safety record.
• The promotion of seminars and aviation events, and aviation in general.
• The maintenance of the facility.
The Primary Airport of the Year is General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport, as an airport serving more than 10,000 passengers annually.
The airport has seen substantial growth and benefits from a new airport passenger terminal. In 2013, Peoria set a new all-time enplanement record.
Reliever Airport of the Year was Lewis University, Romeoville, Illinois.
The Lewis University Airport has grown from a single paved 3,000 ft. runway to two runways– one is 6,500 feet and the other is 5,700 feet. All of this was done without residential tax revenues. Lewis is home to one of the three largest pilot and aircraft maintenance training facilities in the state – Lewis University. Lewis University Airport is currently pursuing an air traffic control tower.
The General Aviation Airport of the Year (Category A) is Vermilion Regional Airport (Danville) for airports with 5,000 feet of runway length.
Vermilion Regional Airport has recently completed several major improvements including taxiway edge lights, a runway overlay and repairs to hangar doors.
The General Aviation Airport of the Year Award (Category B) is given to airports serving aircraft requiring 5,000 feet of runway or less. Benton Municipal Airport received this honor this year.
Benton Municipal Airport serves the county of Franklin and the southern portion of the Rend Lake District.
Recently, as a part of the city’s on-going facility upgrade, the airport opened a 10-unit T-hangar. Future plans include a new replacement administration building.
The Private, Open to the Public Airport of the Year Award went to Galt Field in Greenwood.
Nicknamed the “friendliest airport around,” Galt Airport (10C) is located in the middle of a cornfield, in the middle of America, and in the heart of McHenry County, Illinois. 10C, once a dairy farm, was founded in 1950 by Arthur T. Galt, Jr. and was immortalized in the 1995 novel by Lawrence Gonzales, One Zero Charlie: Adventures In Grass Roots Aviation.
Recently the airport went above and beyond in removing trees and brush issues around the facility.
The Heliport of Year Award went to Blessing Hospital in Quincy.
Blessing Hospital is the largest and most sophisticated medical center in a 100-mile radius, with a medical staff of more than 240 physicians and a team of more than 2,000 employees.
The Five Prop, Airport Restaurant of the Year Award went to The High Flyers Grille at St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton.
The High Flyers Grille is located in the newly remodeled Old Terminal Building and features a mix of traditional American comfort food.