St. Louis Downtown Airport (KCPS) was awarded the 2020 Reliever Airport of the Year by the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics. The award was presented at a special ceremony on September 27, during the Illinois Public Airports Association Fall Conference in Galena, Ill., where a total of 12 airports were recognized in different categories. Due to the pandemic canceling last year’s conference, awards were based on the achievements of the last two years.
The airports recognized were selected because of their accomplishments, including an outstanding partnership with IDOT and a strong commitment to customer safety and satisfaction. Among the award considerations are cooperation and coordination with the state, safety record, maintenance of the facility, and promotion of aviation and educational events.
“Director Erick Dahl and his team work diligently every day to ensure that every customer and pilot flying in and out of St. Louis Downtown Airport have the best experience possible,” said Taulby Roach, Bi-State Development President and CEO. Bi-State Development owns and operates the airport which is located just east of Downtown St. Louis in the communities of Cahokia Heights and Sauget, Ill. “This award is a testament to the fact that they continue to deliver exceptional, professional service while maintaining a safe environment.”
St. Louis Downtown Airport serves major corporations in a variety of industries, ranging from transportation and energy to food and beverage. KCPS is also home to the nation’s oldest flight school — St. Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology — and serves as a major transfer point for patients and transplant organs in transit to and from the region’s many medical centers. Over the course of its 80 plus year history, the airport has developed numerous partnerships with all types of businesses that now operate at the airport, ranging from general aviation, personal use and training schools to maintenance, manufacturing, helicopter operations and more. With all this activity, St. Louis Downtown Airport ranks as the second busiest general aviation airport in the bi-state region behind St. Louis Lambert International Airport, and it is the busiest general aviation airport in Illinois outside of Chicago.
“My staff and I are proud to be selected as the reliever airport of the year and of the role we play in contributing to the vitality of the state’s aviation system,” said Erick Dahl. “Our unmatched proximity to downtown St. Louis and commitment to discretion bring customers to our facility, but having our customer service and safety record recognized by IDOT provides another reason to choose KCPS.”
Illinois is home to almost 100 public-use airports and heliports, with nearly 3,000 aircraft registered with the Federal Aviation Administration. The system of airports supports more than 492,000 jobs, with a combined payroll of $21.9 billion and a total economic impact of $95.4 billion. Across the state, there are more than 700 aviation facilities, including heliport and grass landing strips as well as balloon, glider and ultra-light landing facilities.
“Aviation is one of the key components that goes into making Illinois the transportation hub of North America,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Our aviation partners take great pride in the work they do supporting transportation, jobs and quality of life in their communities. These awards highlight their efforts as well as those of the entire Illinois aviation community.”
Bi-State Development (BSD) owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport and the Gateway Arch Riverboats, as well as operates the Gateway Arch Revenue Collections Center and Gateway Arch trams. BSD is the operator of the Metro public transportation system for the St. Louis region, which includes the 87 vehicle, 46-mile MetroLink light rail system; a MetroBus fleet of nearly 400 clean-burning diesel and battery electric vehicles that operates on 68 MetroBus routes; and Metro Call-A-Ride, a paratransit fleet of 125 vans. BSD also operates the St. Louis Regional Freightway, the two-state region’s freight district.