by Cassandra Isackson
Director, Minnesota DOT Office of Aeronautics
Published in Midwest Flyer – October/November 2017 issue
Minnesotans are fortunate to have 135 wonderful public-use airports and 15 seaplane bases throughout the state. We are equally fortunate to have many truly awesome airport managers who work very hard all year long to keep our publicly owned and operated airports safe, serviceable, and user-friendly (Minnesota Nice). But not every airport is the same and neither are the airport managers and the jobs they have to do.
In a broad-based definition, airport managers supervise airport terminal activities. In other words they are the main point of contact for city administrators, or airline officials, air cargo companies, pilots, aircraft owners, and the general public. They are also responsible for maintenance and day-to-day operation of the airport, including its safety infrastructure. In addition, airport managers are responsible for helping to assure that federal, state, and local regulations are followed, and that the airport is maintained to proper safety standards for aviators and non-aviators alike.
Many airport managers are professionals, like those who manage the larger airline-served airports, or are hired by the city to operate and maintain the airport. Other airport managers also own the fixed base operation and function as part-time managers, a local pilot who is a part-time airport manager, or the city clerk, or the public works engineer.
Airport managers are responsible for keeping the operation of the airport within budget. That includes the costs for mowing, snow removal, garbage disposal, and airfield maintenance and upgrades, including general esthetics. They manage airport employees and are the liaison to the city about the needs of the airport, improvements, and programs. They can also be responsible for coordinating multiple crews and agencies if there is a crash or emergency on the field.
There are, no doubt, a number of other items that could be listed in the job description of an airport manager. Many people rely on airport managers to keep their community airport running well and operating safely. After all, the community’s airport IS an economic engine, not only for the community, but also for the surrounding region.
Did you know there is a way for pilots, aviation enthusiasts, and others to get involved in their local airport and show support for their airport manager? It is called the Adopt-An-Airport program. Individuals, groups, and organizations can volunteer to actively support their local airport by assisting in the maintenance and beautification of the airport facilities, and much more.
Adopt-An-Airport promotes airports and gives visible recognition to volunteers, while also creating increased awareness among local citizens about the positive economic impacts and benefits the airport brings to their city, benefiting every citizen and not just aviators.
Any public-use airport in Minnesota is eligible to participate in the Adopt-An-Airport program. For additional information, go to http://www.dot.state.mn.us/aero/aviationeducation/aviationadoptanairport/adoptanairport.html, or contact Darlene Dahlseide at 651-234-7248, or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, for additional information about the Adopt an Airport program and program applications.