Monroe County Airport receives top honors from AAI



By Anicka Slachta

Monroe County Airport was awarded top honors in the aviation world: it was named airport of the year by the Aviation Association of Indiana earlier this month.

The annual honor goes to an establishment that promotes “aviation safety, education, economic development and corporate citizenship,” according to an AAI press release.

The AAI decides who will receive the award each year, but input is considered from the Indiana Department of Transportation Office of Aviation , the Federal Aviation Administration and the Aircraft Owners  and Pilot Association, according to the ?release.

“I feel it is appropriate that we were considered, and I am extremely pleased that we were chosen,” Bruce Payton , airport director at the Monroe County Airport , said in an email. “Although this is the first such award we have received, we have been featured in national trade publications for innovative ideas in leasing and airport projects.”

Payton noted that the airport finds it rewarding that its efforts to best operate a business aviation facility are being noted.

The award was presented to Payton alongside two other colleagues, including Ken Ritchie , Board of Aviation commissioner and vice president .

The award was presented by Karen Arland , AAI Awards Committee ?chairperson .

“We are honored to be selected by our peers for this award,” Ritchie said in the release . “I knew our airport supported over $230 million in annual economic impact and more than 1,600 jobs in the community. What I failed to remember until we prepared the application was all of the great things the airport was doing in the community.”

The award includes a grant of $1,000 , which is to be donated to a local organization of the airport’s choosing.  Monroe County Airport’s staff chose to give its cash prize to New Hope Family Shelter .

New Hope, which serves as a safe place for homeless families in Bloomington to stay, is funded through donations from members of the community, the release states. It is a nonprofit charity.

Bart Giesler , AAI’s executive director, explained in the release that the cash award is given because “airports need to be good corporate citizens. We encourage our airports to be active in the community, and this is our way to say ‘Thank you’ to all of the airports across the state that are active in their ?community.”

The formal and official presentation of the accolade will take place at 9 a.m. Oct. 30.  Giesler and Arland will deliver the presentation to the Monroe County Commissioners.

“Monroe County should be proud of our airport and how it helps our economy and all of our residents,” Ritchie said in the release .

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