FAA gives an Airport Executive a well-deserved Award

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robwigingtonaward-600xx852-568-41-0Rob Wigington (the center figure in this picture) must be doing something right; for he received the FAA Air Carrier Manager of the Year award. That’s a remarkable accomplishment. Why?

Airport managers have a difficult job. She or he is in charge of a highly visible, economically significant public utility, but has “masters” with three or four different agendas. Pleasing all is difficult or impossible. The community’s business leaders exhort you to attract new service and increase flights. The neighbors have the opposite expectations; they demand less noise. The elected officials may side with either group, but always love the construction jobs created by new terminal space or runways. The airlines that use the airfield are excited when the costs of operating there are low. Finally, the FAA has high standards for safety and a whole host of rules about spending the AIP dollars.

That’s quite a diverse set of requirements to meet. Here’s what the FAA release said about Mr. Wigington’s work:

“Under Wigington’s leadership, Nashville International Airport (BNA) has improved its Part 139 certification results, an airport operating certification issued by the FAA to ensure safety in air transportation, to achieve zero findings during its most recent inspection,” states the release. “He has also focused on eliminating modifications of standards and ensuring the airfield is in full compliance with FAA standards, all while continuing to operate under sound fiscal management.”

The BNA CEO has a 35 year history of airport experience, including a stint at ACI. He then added to his understanding of how airports run or can be better run at consulting firms, SAN and IAH. Obviously he learned all of his lessons well, especially how to meet the FAA’s demanding safety requirements.

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