O’Hare and Midway recognized with the 2018-2019 Balchen/Post Award for expertly maintaining safe and operational airfields this winter

CHICAGO, IL, 2019-May-01 — /Travel PR News/ — O’Hare and Midway International Airports have been recognized with the 2018-2019 Balchen/Post Award for excellence in the performance of airport snow and ice removal by the Northeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). Chicago’s airports were among only 19 airports across the country to be recognized for expertly maintaining safe and operational airfields during snow and ice events this past winter season.

”Ensuring safe airport and airfield conditions for the traveling public year round for over 100 million travelers will always be our number one priority,” said Jamie L. Rhee, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA).“This recognition by the AAAE and our industry partners is a testament to our dedicated airport personnel who work hard to keep runways and roadways at O’Hare and Midway

Chicago’s airport system operates one of the largest snow programs in the nation, powered by a fleet of over 350 pieces of equipment and more than 500 City snow personnel working in partnership with the airlines to keep the 80 miles of runways and taxiways at Chicago’s airports safe and dry. The CDA has recently expanded the size of and upgraded the quality of its snow removal fleet, procuring new blowers, brooms, salt and sand trucks to complement the extensive training year-round in preparation for winter weather operations.

The 43rd annual Balchen/Post Awards were presented at the 53rd International Aviation Snow Symposium on April 29, 2019 in Buffalo, New York. Both the O’Hare and Midway Operations Divisions received Honorable Mention recognition in the Large Commercial Airport category. This year’s honorable mention recognition follows the acknowledgment of Chicago’s airport snow safety program several times over the years, with O’Hare winning the Balchen/Post award as recently as 2009-2010, and Midway being honored in 2014-2015.

“Airport professionals in Chicago and across the country work overtime every winter to keep their facilities safe and operational in even the most extreme weather,” said Todd Hauptli, AAAE President and CEO. “Congratulations to the Chicago Department of Aviation and its dedicated airport staff for being recognized for the hard work at O’Hare and Midway during an especially brutal winter.”

Airports submit applications and are selected for the Balchen/Post Award by an AAAE committee that reviews the following criteria: degree of in-depth preparedness: ice control plan; readiness; personnel training: overall safety awareness and effectiveness of snow and ice control program.

“The ‘Snow Crews’ at both Chicago Department of Aviation airports deserve big kudos as they were selected as Honorable Mention for Large Commercial Airport,” said  Alex M. Kashani, Chair, Balchen/Post Award, International Aviation Snow Symposium.   “Congratulations to all winner and honorable mention airports for winter season 2018-19 for excellence in the performance of airport snow and ice control.”

This year’s annual awards were presented to a total of 19 airports across all categories: commercial, general aviation and military. Airports are awarded according to the size and activity of the airport, where plans vary due to climate and the resources required to combat snow and ice conditions.

With nearly 3,000 flights daily, the CDA works with a number of agencies to ensure safe and efficient operations 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, including the FAA, airlines, and air traffic control.  Chicago’s airports have an outstanding record for safety, and continually receive high marks by the FAA for meeting safety guidelines and standards. The CDA continues to not only meet but exceed the requirements of the FAA’s annual airport compliance certification, Part 139, where O’Hare and Midway have each obtained perfect scores for the past three years in a row.

The Balchen/Post Award was named for aviation Col. Bernt Balchen and Wiley Post, founders of the International Aviation Snow Symposium. The Symposium is the airport industry’s largest gathering of its kind, where hundreds of industry professionals from around the world come together to showcase best practices in airport snow operations.

For more information on AAAE and the Balchen/Post Award visit http://www.necaaae.org/cfiles/about.php.

Source: Chicago Department of Aviation