2023 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Alexander Rao, CM

Dec. 19, 2023
Alexander Rao, CM, El Paso International Airport Operations Manager

With 22 years in aviation, including 11 years at El Paso International Airport (ELP), Alexander Rao's impact extends from overseeing critical airport operations to community advocacy and thought leadership in the industry.

As the Airport Operations Manager, Rao oversees pivotal areas such as airside operations, airport communications, and airport badging.

His professional accomplishments at ELP include leading his team through multiple discrepancy-free Part 139 annual safety inspections, ensuring the safety and satisfaction of millions of passengers.

One of his most noteworthy achievements includes being awarded the TSA Partnership Award in 2016 as the Airport Security Coordinator. Rao said his efforts have been instrumental in bridging gaps and aligning objectives, “This prestigious recognition came at a time when airports and the TSA often had conflicting approaches to operations.”

In addition to his impactful role at ELP, Rao actively contributes to the aviation industry's advancement by serving on a panel at AAAE conferences on UAS detection and systems.

"My motivation in aviation is fueled by a combination of factors that make this field incredibly rewarding," he said.

Being part of El Paso International Airport, Rao said he takes immense pride in being part of an organization “that values both community and innovation. At El Paso International Airport, we're not just colleagues; we're a family committed to each other's growth and to the safety and satisfaction of every traveler who passes through our gates.”

Looking forward, he envisions a career marked by positive change.

"Internally, my focus is on driving operational efficiencies and nurturing a culture of continuous learning and improvement," he explains. His broader goal is to contribute to the development of technologies that enhance air travel safety, efficiency, and sustainability.

Originally from Worcester, MA, and an alumnus of Daniel Webster College, Nashua, NH, Rao, at 37, represents a dynamic force in airport operations with 11 years of industry experience.