|Tony Jannus Award|
|Awarded for||Outstanding achievement in scheduled commercial aviation|
|Presented by||Tony Jannus Distinguished Aviation Society|
The Tony Jannus Award recognizes outstanding individual achievement in scheduled commercial aviation by airline executives, inventors and manufacturers, and government leaders. The award is conferred annually by the Tony Jannus Distinguished Aviation Society and was first bestowed in 1964 in Tampa, Florida, U.S. Its namesake, aviation pioneer Tony Jannus (1889–October 12, 1916), piloted the inaugural flight of the St. Petersburg–Tampa Airboat Line on January 1, 1914, the first scheduled commercial airline flight in the world using heavier-than-air aircraft. In addition to preserving the legacy of Tony Jannus, the non-profit Society also offers financial assistance to college students pursuing studies in aviation and conducts an annual essay contest for high school students to encourage careers in aviation.
Past recipients of the award include such famed luminaries as Eddie Rickenbacker, Donald Douglas, Jimmy Doolittle, C. R. Smith (the founder of American Airlines), William A. Patterson (president of United Airlines 1934–1966), and Chuck Yeager. Those so honored are enshrined at the St. Petersburg Museum of History's First Airline Pavilion. The Museum, located 100 yards (91 m) from the site of the inaugural flight's takeoff on January 1, 1914, also has an operational replica of the Benoist XIV airplane flown by Jannus that day.: 334 On January 29, 2011, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics dedicated an historic site plaque on the museum's grounds, commemorating the site of the world’s first regularly scheduled airline.
Main article: Tony Jannus
Tony Jannus was an early American pilot whose aerial exploits were widely publicized in aviation's pre-World War I period. He flew the first airplane from which a parachute jump was made, in 1912. Jannus was also the first airline pilot, having pioneered the inaugural flight of the St. Petersburg–Tampa Airboat Line on January 1, 1914, the first scheduled commercial airline flight in the world using heavier-than-air aircraft. Departing from a location near the downtown St. Petersburg Municipal Pier on Second Avenue North, Jannus piloted the twenty-three-minute inaugural flight of the pioneer airline's Benoist XIV flying boat biplane. A crowd of 3,000 gathered at the pier to watch the history-making takeoff at 10 a.m. and were told by organizer Percival Fansler that "What was impossible yesterday is an accomplishment today, while tomorrow heralds the unbelieveable" [sic].: 68
Occurring just ten years after Wilbur and Orville Wright's historic first airplane flight, the new St. Petersburg–Tampa Airboat Line began providing two daily round trips across Tampa Bay, departing St. Petersburg at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., with return flights from Tampa departing at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. At a fare of five dollars, it was the first time tickets were sold to the general public for point-to-point commercial air travel on a scheduled basis.: 63 
Fifty years later, in 1963, James Hamlett and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce created the Tony Jannus Award to recognize the "Man who has done the most to advance the airline industry" and to celebrate the Tampa Bay area's historic role in the development of commercial aviation.: 321 The following March 1964, Senator A. S. Mike Monroney was named the first Tony Jannus Award recipient for his work as chairman of the U.S. Senate's Aviation Subcommittee and as chief proponent of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 that created the Federal Aviation Administration.: 322 In the 1970s, the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce joined with the Tampa chamber to co-sponsor the award. The joint effort by the two chambers of commerce eventually evolved into the Tony Jannus Distinguished Aviation Society, a non-profit organization which now confers the award.
Winners of the Tony Jannus Award are enshrined at the St. Petersburg Museum of History's First Airline Pavilion and Tony Jannus-related exhibits. The Museum, located 100 yards (91 m) from the site of the inaugural flight's takeoff on January 1, 1914, also has an operational replica of the Benoist XIV airplane flown by Jannus that day. The replica was built by the Florida Aviation Historical Society in 1983 and flown across Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg to Tampa on January 1, 1984, in a reenactment of the Jannus inaugural flight 70 years earlier.: 330 The replica was moved to the museum in January, 1993.: 334
A permanent exhibit at Tampa International Airport also pays tribute to the following individuals (by year) who have received the Tony Jannus Award since 1964:: 327 
The Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Tampa, Florida, and governed by a board of directors composed of distinguished industry leaders and Tampa Bay area officials. Financial support is provided by prominent companies and organizations related to the aviation industry. The stated threefold mission of the Society is to:
The Society holds its annual luncheon and dinner banquet in the Tampa Bay area, when the Tony Jannus Award is conferred for that year, in the presence of past recipients. These meetings are also the occasion for recognizing those college students selected to receive the Society's financial assistance, along with high school students excelling in the Essay Contest.