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Downes Award Winners

One of the most prestigious awards of ACI-NA, the “William E. Downes Jr. Memorial Award”, is the namesake of Bill Downes, the former Commissioner of Aviation for the City of Chicago from 1959 to 1975.  

Nominees for this award possess outstanding leadership in promoting the cause of airports and aviation as a vital part of the local, national or worldwide aviation community.  

Winners have successfully worked for acceptance, development and support of needed airport programs. They have been instrumental in fostering cooperation among various aviation entities with the ultimate goal of improving the airport. Finally, winners are known for their initiative of fostering or creating an innovative approach to solving vital issues facing the aviation industry currently, and implementing new approaches in planning for future aviation development. (Nominees must meet at least one of these criteria.)

1978    General Jimmy Doolittle, for International Aviation and Aircraft Noise Abatement Policy

1979    Sir Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine

1980    Elrey Jeppesen, developer of the Jeppesen navigation charts

1981    Dr. Werner Treibel, for German airport development

1982    Toru Akiyama, for Japanese airport and airline development

1983    Sir Peter Masefield, for British airport development

1984    No award presented

1985    John Wiley, former Aviation Director, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

1986    Knut Hammarskjold, former Director General of IATA

1987    Assad Kotaite, President of the International Civil Aviation Organization

1988    T. Wilson, for management of aircraft programs , Chairman of The Boeing Company for over 40 years

1989    J. Donald Reilly, former Executive Director/Secretary General of AOCI

1990    Colonel Frank Borman, former Astronaut and former President and CEO of Eastern Airlines

1991    F. Russell Hoyt, former CEO of AAAE

1992    R. Dixon Speas, Aviation Consultant

1993    Clifton A. Moore, retired Executive Director, Los Angeles International Airport

1994    Sir Norman J. Payne, British/European aviation industry leader and former Chairman of BAA

1995    No award presented

1996    George J. Bean, retired Executive Director [TPA]

1997    James M. Davey, retired Airport Director [DTW]

1998    John F. Brown, founder of Landrum & Brown

1999    No award presented

2000    No award presented

2001    No award presented

2002    No award presented

2003    No award presented

2004    James A. Wilding - former President/CEO, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

2005    No award presented

2006    Jim DeLong – former Director of Aviation, City of Denver

2007    Robert S. Michael, former Aviation Director, Louisville Regional Airport Authority

2008    Walter A. Burg, Executive Director, Tucson International Airport

2009    Paul B. Gaines, former Director of the Houston Airport System

2010    William 'Bill' DeCota, former Aviation Director, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

2011    Oris W. Dunham Jr., first Director General of Airports Council International

2012    Marjorie Brink Coridan, former consultant, LeighFisher

2013    Louis Turpen, former Director of San Francisco and Toronto airports

2014    Arnold W. Thompson, Arnold Thompson Associates

2015    Richard Haury, formerly of Griener Engineering, URS, and AECOM

2016    Louis E. Miller, formerly of Salt Lake City International Airport, formerly of Tampa International Airport, and formerly of the
             City of Atlanta Department of Aviation

2017    Herb Kelleher, formerly of Southwest Airlines

2018    Susan (Sue) Baer, formerly of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (award presented posthumously)

2019    James (Jim) Cherry, formerly of Aéroports de Montréal

2020    No award presented

2021    Angela Gittens, formerly of ACI World and formerly of the City of Atlanta Department of Aviation

2022    Lynn Goldschmidt, formerly of DKMG

2023    Gerry Bruno, formerly of InterVISTAS and Vancouver Airport Authority

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