Sarasota Bradenton International Chosen Commercial Airport of the Year by FDOT

Jul. 12--MANATEE -- Sarasota Bradenton International Airport has been selected Commercial Service Airport of the Year by the Florida Department of Transportation, airport officials announced today.

Department of Transportation officials presented the aviation award at their annual Florida Airports Council Conference in Orlando last week. It is the second time SRQ has been won it. The last time was in 1993, airport officials said.

The department of transportation cited a number of reasons supported the selection of SRQ.

Among them were its flawless safety inspection in November conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration, multi-million dollar innovative security improvements and a recent $5 million dollar main runway rehabilitation project, according to William Ashbaker, state aviation manager for the department, who announced the award during the conference.

Also cited was SRQ's success in attracting new carriers, AirTran Airways and JetBlue Airways, he said.

The honors come at a time when SRQ passenger numbers have steadily grown.

During the 12-month period ending in June, SRQ served 1,518,671 passengers, up 11.82 percent over the same period last year, according to statistics supplied by SRQ. Compared to 2003, SRQ passenger traffic has rebounded strongly with an increase of 42.97%, it said.

"This is a wonderful testament to the dedication and hard work of the board, the staff and all the employees that work at the airport. We will to continue our efforts to improve the facilities and air service at SRQ for the benefit of the community," said Fredrick Piccolo, president and chief executive officer at SRQ.

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