James E. Bennett, the President and CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority today announced his retirement after 14 years of service to the Airports Authority and his 32- year aviation career.
He will retire on May 8, 2010. Board Chairman, Charles D. Snelling thanked Mr. Bennett for his outstanding service to the Airports Authority and the Washington region, saying, “You have worked with the Board over the years to make Reagan National and Dulles International Airports welcoming gateways to our nation’s capital and important hubs in the region’s multimodal transportation network. The Airports Authority has made progress in our recent undertaking of the construction of a critical link in the region’s mass transit network, the Dulles Rail Project, which will bring much-needed transportation options to those who travel in northern Virginia and transit access to the region’s international gateway airport.”
In announcing his retirement, Mr. Bennett said “I am very thankful for the opportunity and the support the Board has given me over the years to lead an incredible organization like the Airports Authority. Aviation is a business that I have dedicated my life to, and I can’t think of a better place to have been during these recent years of dramatic change and challenges to our industry. We have met these challenges because of the leadership of the Board and the efforts of our tremendous group of employees. They are truly the backbone of the Airports Authority, and they make their mark every day on the service we provide to the region and the world.”
Mr. Bennett joined the Airports Authority in 1996 as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He was selected by the Board to serve as President and CEO in 2003 following the retirement of James E. Wilding, the first head of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority which was created in 1986.
Prior to joining the Airports Authority, Mr. Bennett served as Assistant Aviation Director at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. He also served as the Director of the Shreveport, Louisiana, Airport Authority, the Director of Aeronautics for the City of Flint, Michigan, and the Manager of Technical Services for Airport Operators Council International (currently, ACI-North America).
During his tenure with the Airports Authority, he has been involved in several regional activities, serving as the Chairman of Arlington Chamber of Commerce; Campaign Chair for the Arlington United Way; former Chair of Leadership Arlington and a member of the Board of the Greater Washington Initiative, and the Loudoun County Economic Development Commission.
The Board of Directors will conduct a comprehensive search for the position of President and CEO. A Board announcement of an interim appointment will be forthcoming.