2021 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Nyika A. Allen, C.M.

Dec. 9, 2021

Four years ago, Nyika Allen was brand new to the aviation industry. Traveling while in college piqued her interest in the industry, but it wasn’t until becoming the Director of the City of Albuquerque’s Aviation Department that Allen really caught the aviation bug.

“Between my love for traveling, interacting with people, and overall infrastructure, I simply could not refuse the opportunity to manage the city of Albuquerque’s aviation department. Within a year of being in this role, I was able to obtain my C.M. designation from AAAE, but it certainly felt like drinking from the firehose for a couple years as I learned what it meant to be an aviation director. But I just loved it – I wanted to learn everything about running an airport, especially how to identify issues and improve operations,” Allen said.

Allen was chosen as the first millennial executive to lead a city department and the first woman to serve as Director of Aviation for the City of Albuquerque. Under her leadership, the first international airline and flight in nine years came to ABQ. The Sunport was recognized as having a top 10 airport art program in the world for 2019 and achieved top 10 medium hub accolades from J.D. Power for 2018 and 2019. Allen oversaw the completion of a $30M terminal renovation, with new streamlined exit doors, and state of the art nursing and pet relief rooms and has overseen a complete $16M security system redesign and overhaul for the entire airport complex. She oversaw the development and execution of the airport’s Fly Direct, Real ID and multiple new air route campaigns.

“One of the reasons I love being in the aviation industry is being able to see how it connects people from all different walks of life together, and it brings me so much joy to see people embrace each other right as they exit the secure area and see their loved ones waiting. Traveling allows you to experience so many different things, and I think it’s important that everyone have that chance,” Allen said.

Allen said her strengths lie in the business, finance, and strategy side of her work, and it is tackling those areas that brings her the most joy in what she does. It will be these skills Allen will bring with her in her new role as Assistant Director of Aviation with the Port of Oakland.

“I just love the whole process – from business and finance strategies to identifying problems in the airport and determining how to fix them. Our work will help shape the industry for years to come, and that is something that has been a huge joy for me and something I'm excited to focus on in my new role at the Port of Oakland,” Allen said.

About the Author

Walker Jaroch | Editor

Contact: Walker Jaroch

Editor | AMT

[email protected]


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