Chicago Executive Airport Staff Earns National Recognition for Snow and Ice Safety

May 2, 2019

Chicago Executive Airport (CEA) announces that its operations and maintenance team earned the national Balchen/Post Award for excellence in the performance of airport snow and ice control during the winter of 2018-19. Three members of CEA travelled to the International Aviation Snow Symposium in Buffalo, NY to receive the award, which is presented annually by the Northeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives

“We are extraordinarily proud to represent Chicago Executive Airport, the Village of Wheeling, and the City of Prospect Heights on the national stage,” shared Andrew Wolanik, operations and maintenance supervisor at CEA. “We take great pride in our work, and we never back away from a challenge – no matter the cold and freezing conditions. I am honored to share this award with my colleagues and look forward to another year of safe and efficient operations here at the airport.”

Considered the premier national award for recognizing safe airport operations during inclement winter weather, the Balchen/Post Award has been presented for 43 consecutive years. Awardees are chosen among a national pool of candidates in six categories spanning commercial, general, and military aviation classifications. Consideration for the award involves an extensive vetting process and includes the input of users of airports, airlines, pilots, general aviation, the military, and the entire aviation community.

The Chicagoland area joined much of the Midwest in experiencing the most extreme weather in the country during the winter of 2018-19. Despite such adverse weather conditions, CEA maintains near-continuous operations as a reliever airport to O’Hare International, and it routinely sees more than 80,000 flights annually. The CEA Snow Crew utilizes a variety of modern snow removal equipment – and a lot of hard work and dedication – to keep runways clear and safe as temperatures dive below freezing through much of the winter season.  

“We take enormous pride in our commitment to safe and continuous operations at Chicago Executive Airport,” said Jamie Abbott, CEA’s executive director. “As one of the busiest airports in Illinois, we have a strong track record of maintaining clear and trafficable runways through even the worst of weather. This is a direct credit to our operations and maintenance team, who are second to none. We are so proud of all they do in service to our customers, our municipal owners, and the surrounding community.”