For Immediate Release

January 26, 2006
Contact: Kathleen Bergen
Phone: 404-305-5100

ATLANTA, GA – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Southern Region Airports Division has selected Stennis International Airport in Bay St. Louis, MS, to receive the 2005 General Aviation Airport Safety Award. The award is presented to a general aviation airport in the Southeast that makes outstanding efforts to increase safety.

Immediately following Hurricane Katrina, Airport Manager Bill Cotter and his son cleared debris from operational and safety areas and repaired runway edge lights to allow resumption of night operations. The airport borrowed airport rescue and fire fighting vehicles, and two days after the hurricane, relief flights began.

The airport provided bivouac areas for the majority of soldiers and airmen providing security and relief services. This enabled military and civilian aircraft operating out of Stennis to support massive relief efforts in southwest Mississippi and New Orleans.

The airport staff coordinated space for parking and unloading the tremendous number of military and civilian cargo aircraft delivering relief supplies. At the height of post-Katrina operations, 1,500 tons of supplies were delivered daily to the airport.

“The staff of Stennis International Airport did a tremendous job in responding to Hurricane Katrina,” said Rusty Chapman, Manager, Airports Division, FAA Southern Region. “Stennis Airport acted quickly to restore service so critical relief flights could operate quickly and safely out of the airport. The airport staff’s actions are a testament to their dedication and professionalism.”

FAA presented the award at the FAA’s annual Southern Region Communications Conference in Atlanta on January 23.