Coolidge Municipal Airport named 2017 Airport of the Year

Coolidge Municipal Airport Aerial ViewCoolidge Airport wins top state award, as reported by the Coolidge Examiner - June 7, 2017

The Coolidge Municipal Airport is soaring high this week after it was named the 2017 Airport of the Year by the Arizona Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division at last week’s meeting of the Arizona Airports Association in Prescott.

Coolidge Mayor Jon Thompson, City Manager Rick Miller and Airport Manager James Myers accepted the award. Thompson credits Myers in large part for the recognition.

“The airport management that we have in James Myers, that people like and can get along with, has good common sense,” Thompson said. “It’s a lot easier to get things accomplished now than it was a year ago, for example.”

The award puts Coolidge in front of the eyes of pilots, who like to have a destination to point their planes to. When they get here, they open their wallets.

“It puts us on the map in the airport world, which is its own little world,” Thompson said. “They buy gas here, they fly in here and have breakfast, which helps the Lions (Club), which helps our kids here in Coolidge.”

According to Miller, there were a number of factors for the success of the airport, the appointment of Myers as a full-time manager seven months ago being one of them. He also listed the rich history of the airfield, which used to be a U.S. Army airfield. He cited the city’s commitment to aviation, including such events as the Lion’s Club monthly breakfast fly-in, and the city council’s commitment to making improvements to the airport.

It was with the council’s approval that grants were pursued and obtained to pay for such improvements as Taxiway A through B4, the new above-ground fuel tanks with increased flow so they can fuel larger aircraft faster and the clearing of the runway ends.

For a town of 12,000, Thompson said the accomplishment is remarkable and awards such as this only make Coolidge more attractive to other pilots, according to Miller.

“It does nothing but help us expand and it is an economic driver,” he said.

“We’ve put a lot of work into it over the past few years, Rick and I,” Myers added. “We’ve put a big effort into the grants. When grants were available we really pursued them and followed through with them and we really tried to improve most of our services out there that haven’t been maintained in several years. ...The city has shown a good faith effort into maintaining this airport, showing the state and the Federal Aviation Administration we’re willing to maintain it, showing the state that we’re willing to do the best effort we can with what resources we have.”

The next big improvement that Thompson hopes to see at the airport is commercial electric lines installed, and it won’t just improve the airport by getting more lighted runways.

“When we get the electric out there, I think you’ll see a big growth spurt,” Thompson said. “That’s what’s holding back a lot of these larger companies that need a great amount of electricity to run their businesses. ... (This award) makes a difference and it demonstrates that we can get a project done.”