Astorino speaks about the importance of the county's airportThe Westchester County Airport's contributions to the economy of the region and its commitment to the environment were celebrated last week, at an event that drew more than 300 local officials and representatives of the business and aviation communities.

"Westchester Business Takes Flight," was sponsored by the Westchester Aviation Association, which represents general aviation at the Westchester County Airport, and Hawker Beechcraft Corporation.

During the luncehon, County Executive Robert P. Astorino was presented with the association's Environmental Leadership Award, in recognition of the continuing efforts by the county to make sure the airport is operated in an environmentally friendly way.

Noise abatement awards were given to about 50 aviation companies or operators. Among the top achievers: RD Aviation LP, which flew a Cessna Citation 550 with the lowest average sound level recorded for a jet aircraft, and JPMorgan Chase, operator of two Gulfstream 450s, a Gulfstream V and a Gulfstream 550, which got similar recognition for a jet fleet.

In addition, the Aviation Week McGraw-Hill Scholarship was presented to a deserving student, Joshua Blum.

In his remarks to the gathering, Astorino detailed the economic importance to the airport to the community.

"Our airport is a tool to promote economic development," he said, "It is home to over 80 businesses.  There are approximately 1,300 jobs on site. The airport does not cost our taxpayers anything. Its revenues pay for its expenses. But the economic engine goes far beyond that. The airport generates money for our economy. The last time we did a formal study of this in 1998 we estimated that the airport generated $649 million in ancillary economic benefit to the Westchester/ Fairfield area. The number no doubt is much higher today."

While applauding the economic impact, he said, "Any discussion of the airport and its future must also be framed in the context of keeping it both community and environmentally friendly. In 2004, our airport became the third airport in the nation to have its environmental management system certified to have met the internationally recognized ISO 14001 standard. And we will continue to strive to keep that certification."

The 2009 Spirit of Noise Abatement Awards were presented to these avaitaion companies or operators:

Helicopter - Winners

Citigroup Corporate Aviation
Gateway Helicopters Inc
IBM Flight Operations
Interlaken Capital Aviation Services
Safe Flight Instrument Corporation
Wayfarer Ketch Management, LLC

Turbopropeller - Winners

Air Frantz
Donnellan Aviation
Richard A. Foreman & Assoc., Inc.
John Friel
Greenhill Aviation
Joe Howley
K.W. Griffen Packaging Co.
NY Power Authority
Robert Wilner

Turbopropeller - Honorable Mention: Platinum

Gene Hall
Dr. David Volpi
Zaitz Overland, LLC

Jet - Winners

Air Frantz
Bresnan International Aviation, LLC
JP Morgan Chase
Lower Cross Aircraft Corp.
The McGraw-Hill Companies
MetLife -- managed by Jet Aviation
PMI Global Services, Inc
Polo Aviation (managed by Jet Aviation)
RD Aviation LP
RT Vanderbilt
Wayfarer Ketch Mgt., LLC

Jet - Honorable Mention: Platinum

AIM Aviation
Beauty Central
Chamarac, Inc
Citigroup Corporate Aviation
Ernst & Young, LLC
King Aircraft
Polygon Air
Wayfarer Aviation

Jet - Honorable Mention: Gold

CP Air
Eastway Aviation
OAKLR Aviation
Polaris Aviation

Jet - Honorable Mention: Bronze



Photo Credit: Courtesy of Joe Vericker