Oct. 27--The aviation executive who led the Salt Lake City airport through post-Sept. 11 security upgrades and preparations for the 2002 Winter Olympics will take over Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport next month, Maryland officials announced yesterday.
Tim Campbell will replace Paul J. Wiedefeld, a well regarded administrator who chose to return to the international engineering management and consulting firm where he worked before being tapped to head BWI and other state-owned airports about 3 1/2 years ago.
He will come to BWI near the conclusion of a $1.8 billion expansion there, including a new terminal for Southwest Airlines, the airport's biggest carrier.
Campbell, a 31-year veteran of the aviation industry, "was chosen from an impressive pool of local and national candidates. His experience and leadership will continue to enhance and improve the services of our world-class airport," Transportation Secretary Robert L. Flanagan said.
Among other duties as executive director of the Maryland Aviation Administration, Campbell will oversee completion of the construction and the work of the airport's new retail concessionaire. BAA USA, the American arm of the British airport operator, took over last spring and has been filling store and restaurant space with national brands and local shops.
Bolstering security at the airport, which has been a test ground for Transportation Security Administration initiatives, and pushing for more international service will be ongoing jobs for Campbell.
Flanagan chose him from a list of four candidates provided by a search committee, which whittled down a larger pool that included six current or former airport heads who applied for the vacancy. The secretary said he chose Campbell because of his experience in running a major airport, about the same size as BWI, and his direction after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Salt Lake International Airport was the first to screen all checked baggage in 2002.
Campbell will be paid $250,000. While that is significantly more than the $185,000 Wiedefeld was paid, Flanagan said the increase was necessary to win and retain talent.
Campbell's career has taken him to airports in Nashville, Tenn.; Broward County, Fla.; Newport News, Va.; and Boston, among others. Because of that, he is familiar to many airlines. Aviation industry experts praised his work.
"The industry has worked constructively with Mr. Campbell, and we look forward to our ongoing relationship," the Air Transport Association, a trade group for airlines, said in a statement yesterday.
Campbell begins at the airport in Linthicum Dec. 6. Wiedefeld, who said he knew his replacement and thought he was "a perfect fit" for BWI, will stay for a transitional period until Dec. 16.
Campbell said he wanted the job for the challenge. But he will be leaving an airport possibly with a more daunting future than BWI, which he said was "on the right track."
Salt Lake is the third biggest hub for Delta Air Lines, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September. Delta has said it plans to cut about 20 percent of its domestic flights and scale back its work force significantly. It has also said it plans to route fewer flights through hubs and more directly between cities. It's unclear how much the cuts will affect the Salt Lake hub, which depends on fees the airlines pay to use its gates.
By contrast, BWI is dominated by Southwest Airlines. The low-cost giant has logged consistent profits even while the industry has collectively lost billions of dollars yearly since the 2001 terrorist attacks. Southwest has been rapidly expanding at BWI and now controls about half the traffic. The airline has a smaller presence in Salt Lake.
About 20 million passengers passed through BWI last year. About 18.4 million used Salt Lake.
The position heading the state's airports has escaped much of the turmoil that surrounded the exit and replacement of the head of Maryland's seaports last spring.
The Maryland Aviation Administration owes the carrier $3.4 million in state funds to make up for not meeting financial targets.
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