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    The Illinois Department of Transportation Division of Aeronautics named St. Louis Regional Airport the Illinois Reliever Airport of the Year for 2016. The recognition came for excellence in serving general and corporate aviation needs in a large metropolitan area where services sometimes get lost in the wake of commercial demands.
    “We have an extremely dedicated staff and board of commissioners that work around the clock to keep St. Louis Regional operating smoothly,” said David C. Miller, director of aviation. “I am delighted to see their hard work recognized at such a high level.”
    Besides standard metropolitan airport services, St. Louis Regional hosts close to 900 training missions for Scott Air Force Base and the Civil Air Patrol. Multiple navigational landing options are maintained on two crosswind, all-weather airstrips so crews can train for a wide variety of conditions depending on their skill level.
    Two FAA-funded Airport Improvement Projects were completed this year. There was a $60,000 enhancement to the electrical vault for lighting and $1.2 million for taxiway rehabilitation. The Airport Authority replaced the fuel monitoring system and did repairs on the storm water detention basin.
    “Being able to get ahead of maintenance and be proactive on safety and security is always our goal,” said Miller. “Since we are the only airport in the region above all flood plains, we want to be in a position to take disaster planning as well as routine safety very seriously.”
    A new intergovernmental agreement with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency signed in 2016 will allow the airport to serve as an emergency staging area in a disaster. Readiness exercises included an amateur radio service field day and disaster preparedness training with Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery and Madison County Emergency Management.
    The airport also participated in intergovernmental efforts to address Bethalto storm water issues, worked with safety orientation for law enforcement agencies and Allied Waste, and completed a special assessment of airport security with the help of consultants from TSA and Blackwell Professional Support Services.
    Air Medical Services selected the airport for a maintenance hangar to support the safe and rapid helicopter transport of critically ill and injured patients.
    West Star Aviation continued to expand in both the U.S. and globally. The growing aircraft repair facility won the national Pro-Pilot magazine 2016 Preferred Maintenance and Repair Operation award for the third consecutive year.
    The airport restaurant, High Flyers Grille, doubled its patio space allowing them to serve pilots, business park tenants and local restaurant patrons outside along the Airport’s main taxiway.
    “Growth and development will continue to be a priority for 2016,” said Miller. “We have projects in the pipeline and there is a lot of land still available for both aeronautical and non-aeronautical business development.”