It's About Business

A focus on a man who is leading one of the most business-oriented U.S. airports; and, the industry loses an Administrator ...

Thing is, back in the day when I was just learning about things like minimum standards, MII, residual versus compensatory — among a sea of other things — I had the opportunity to get close to some well entrenched folks who became advisors, of a sort. At some point I asked the question, As you look at the airport manager landscape, who as an editor should I keep an eye on in terms of great managers, people who are bringing new ideas to the table, etc.?

To a person the number one answer was, Keep an eye on Jeff Fegan at DFW. We have, which explains this issue’s cover story.

DFW truly is a fascinating airport. As a user, recent improvements have set the stage for creating a great customer experience – the Skylink rail served as a transformational link. The new International Terminal D set the stage for the airport’s modernization, and the bar.

Despite the fact that it is surrounded by communities -- ones concerned about noise (etc.) -- it continues to move forward. It’s positioning itself to become one of the global players in a global airport world. And, it has autonomy, as much as any U.S. airport does. A central part of its success, it should be noted.

Airport groups in D.C. keep telling Congress, allow our airports to operate as businesses. Take off the shackles. In the portfolio they present to the Hill one assumes there has to be documentation about DFW.

Jim Crites in the early days of the sustainability concept was ahead of the industry, to the point he hosted an Airport Facilities Conference when the idea was just taking root. The airport associations hadn’t come on board yet. Crites and DFW took the lead. Today, sustainability is a core part of planning (see page 26) at airports across the U.S.

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Meanwhile, much of the industry regretted hearing of FAA Administrator’s Randy Babbitt recent resignation, following his being charged with DWI in Virginia outside Washington, D.C. A lifelong aviator, the man who had brought peace with the controllers looked to be a person with the unusual quality of being able to navigate the troubled waters of Washington while understanding and communicating with the industry.

As NATA vice president Eric Byer states in a recent blog, “It is absolutely critical that the President submit, and the Senate confirm, a qualified candidate as soon as possible to ensure that our industry has the proper leadership in place to navigate our community through the myriad pitfalls that we are facing next year.

Thanks for reading.