GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Gerald R. Ford International Airport was named Airport of the Year in the Air Carrier category by the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The Michigan Department of Transportation Bureau of Aeronautics bestowed the honor on Ford Airport during a 2021 Michigan Airport Virtual Conference on Thursday, February 18.

“My team and I are honored to receive this award and thank the MDOT office of aeronautics for recognizing our important role in the advancement of Michigan,” said Ford Airport CEO Torrance Richardson. “Our ambition is not only to serve as a gateway to western Michigan, but also as a catalyst for the economic development of our region. It is gratifying to receive this recognition to honor the extraordinary efforts of our team, especially during the pandemic. “

Ford airport officials said the airport was recognized for its “outstanding contribution and sustained excellence to the advancement of aviation in Michigan.” Richardson and staff were also commended for the continued expansion of the Project Elevate airport and for “environmental stewardship”.

Elevate Project, announced in 2019, is an expansion effort to deal with the continued growth in passengers and airlines that skyrocketed before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Airport officials say the expansion will keep pace with growth over the next 20 years.

Related: Grand Rapids Airport Plans $ 90 Million Expansion to Meet Growth

The project includes a $ 90 million expansion to add eight more passenger doors in Hall A, a new and relocated $ 50 million aircraft control tower, and a $ 25 million federal inspection station.

Airport officials have previously said the relocated aircraft control tower will provide more parking and space options for airline expansion. The inspection station will encourage more international flights.

Ford Airport does not use local public money for its projects. Instead, the airport uses a mix of federal and state grants, municipal bonds, and airfare fees.

Construction of the hall was originally scheduled to be completed in 2022. Ford airport officials say they broke new ground in the first phase of the inspection post.

On environmental stewardship, airport officials highlighted their work on energy upgrades, recycling initiatives and moving to a natural treatment system for de-icing.

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