New Airport Director’s Strategic Vision and Operational Experience Will Continue to Keep SJC Soaring to New Heights

March 12, 2024

After a nationwide recruitment, City Manager Jennifer Maguire has appointed Mukesh (Mookie) Patel as the City’s new Director of Aviation at San José Mineta International Airport (SJC). Patel will assume the Director role on March 18, 2024.“Mookie has an extensive executive background with three decades of experience and is positioned well to lead the airport in the areas of rebuilding passenger and route traffic, navigating complex airport and airline partnerships, expertly managing resources and new revenues to meet our City’s aviation goals, and maintaining the employee culture while keeping it aligned with our customer service initiatives,” said Maguire. “Mookie is also committed to maintaining SJC’s recent distinction as the best mid-size airport in the country.”        “Our next airport director has big shoes to fill,” said San José Mayor Matt Mahan. “And with over 30 years of experience, I believe Mookie is the right person to usher in a new era of innovation and reliability for our award-winning airport.”   The Director of Aviation leads a department with an annual operating budget of $176 million, a 2024-2028 Capital Improvement Program of $614 million, and more than 200 employees responsible for the safe and efficient operation of San José Mineta International Airport. The Airport Department’s three core services are Airport Marketing and Communication; Airport Facilities; and Airport Operations.Patel started his career as the Manager of Commercial Development for the Kansas City International Airport in October 1993. He held several roles at international airports and in the aviation industry, including Manager of Airport Affairs Corporate Real Estate with Alaska Airlines. During his 10-year tenure at Alaska Airlines, he managed a diverse portfolio of airport relationships across the country, which included San José, where he gained a deep understanding of airline/airport economics and the economic impact SJC has in the Bay Area.In 2015, Patel became the Senior Vice President of Airline Affairs and Commercial Property at Denver International Airport. He gained valuable insights into public-private development opportunities and honed his long-range strategic planning skills through master planning initiatives. As the Assistant Director at San Antonio International Airport, he fostered meaningful connections within the community, aligning with the mission and goals of the city while driving economic growth. Most recently, Patel was the Business and Finance Chief Officer at Austin Bergstrom International Airport where he increased non-airline revenues by nine percent within three-years and facilitated investments to support the airport’s multi-billion-dollar investment plan.“I am eager to bring my expertise and spirited leadership to the SJC team,” said Patel. “I am committed to fostering strong partnerships with airlines and contributing to the sustained success of the Airport for the benefit of the entire community. I firmly believe travel should be accessible to all. Be it a traveler who can afford a $49 fare or someone who can afford a $449 fare, it is in our best interest to have a wide range of airline partners providing sustainable and easily accessible flights to and from our community and points beyond.”Patel holds a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management from Oklahoma State University and has a private pilot license. He was awarded the Dedicated Service Award from the American Association of Airport Executives in 2022 and is a member of the Commercial Management Steering Committee of Airports Council International.