Release #10.029
August 31, 2010

ALPA Names Chicago O’Hare “Airport of the Year”
Strong Partnership with Pilots Advances Safety

WASHINGTON – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), has named Chicago O’Hare International Airport its “2009 Airport of the Year” for the facility’s steadfast commitment to engaging with the airline pilots who operate at the airport to ensure the highest safety standards for passengers, crews, and cargo.

Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president, conferred the pilot-friendly “2009 Airport of the Year” award during ALPA’s Air Safety Forum held this week in Washington, D.C.

“Every day, ALPA pilots operate hundreds of flights at Chicago O’Hare, and the airport is consistently receptive to our concerns and works together with us to ensure the safest possible operations,” said Capt. Rory Kay, ALPA’s Executive Air Safety Chairman. “The airport has set the standard by maintaining an open dialogue with airline pilots so that, together, we can detect and resolve emerging safety concerns before problems ever occur.”

The Chicago Department of Aviation has requested that ALPA participate in the airport’s monthly aviation safety meetings, as well as in regular and ad hoc briefings on issues including runway lighting, winter operations, disaster preparedness, and the airport’s multiyear reconstruction effort. Capt. Mike Maas (American Eagle) and Capt. Jeffrey Sedin (United), ALPA’s airport safety liaisons at O’Hare, take part in these meetings on behalf of the union’s nearly 53,000 members.

ALPA’s Airport and Ground Environment Group selects the Airport of the Year from nominations made by ALPA’s regional safety chairmen and airport safety liaisons who represent pilots’ interests at more than 150 commercial airports in the United States and Canada. Nominations range from small regional airports to some of the busiest airports in the world, but all nominees share a common commitment to the highest safety standards.

“With the airport environment constantly changing during O’Hare’s ongoing modernization, the demonstrated commitment by the Chicago Department of Aviation and the Chicago Fire Department to work together with ALPA could not be more important,” said Capt. Prater. “We look forward to our continued partnership and hope that it will serve as a model for airports across the country.”

ALPA’s 2008 Airport of the Year was Mineta San Jose International Airport in San Jose, CA.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing nearly 53,000 pilots at 38 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at


CONTACT: ALPA Communications, 703/481-4440 or