The Gerald R. Ford International Airport was named the Airport of the Year in the air carrier category by the Michigan Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics.
The Ford Airport was honored with the title for its “outstanding contribution and sustained excellence toward aviation progress in Michigan” at a virtual ceremony held during the 2021 Michigan Airport Conference last week.
“Chief Executive Officer Torrance Richardson and the airport staff are being commended in particular for their innovative terminal expansion ‘Project Elevate’ and continued community environmental stewardship,” the award stated, in part.
Project Elevate is a three-development expansion that will include a $90 million extension of Concourse A to accommodate projected passenger growth over the next 20 years.
Currently, the airport is in the first phase of constructing a federal inspection station, which will allow the airport to begin welcoming direct international travel.
The airport has established programs, partnerships and solutions to promote sustainability and reduce its impact on the environment.
It recently reconstructed and expanded the terminal apron, which resulted in more than 99% of the materials generated being recycled or reused. As a result of the airport’s partnership with MDOT and the Federal Aviation Administration, the $50 million investment was completed to support Project Elevate and its future growth.
The airport also has continued partnership with Consumers Energy on energy improvements, its natural treatment system for deicing fluid and an expanded recycling program with the Kent County Department of Public Works.
“My team and I are honored to receive this award and thank MDOT’s Office of Aeronautics for recognizing our important role in Michigan’s progress,” Richardson said. “It is our ambition to not only serve as a gateway to West Michigan but also as a catalyst for economic development in our region. It is gratifying to receive this recognition to honor our team’s extraordinary efforts, especially during the pandemic.”