Posts Tagged ‘Rick McQueen’

CAK Names New CEO

August 10, 2018

The Akron-Canton Airport Authority conducted a national search for its new CEO, but it turned out it didn’t have to look very far.

This week it hired Renato Camacho, who is currently chief of planning and engineering for Port Control at the Cleveland Airport System, which oversees Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Burke Lakefront Airport and Lakefront Harbors.

Comacho, 48, will begin working at Akron-Canton on Oct. 1 and replaces Rick McQueen, who will retire at the end of December.

Already, though, Comacho, has been outlining how he will approach the challenges facing the airport located between its namesake cities.

That will start by listening to the communities served by the airport and determining what they want CAK to be.

“It takes a village” to grow an airport, Camacho said. “Engaging the community [is critical], I can’t say that enough.”

Camacho arrives as passenger traffic at Akron-Canton is in a decline largely precipitated by the loss of carriers and flights.

In 2012, CAK served 1.84 million passengers but traffic has been falling since then, reaching 1.27 million in 2017, a drop of 9.48 percent from the prior year.

“There are many, many airports throughout the country facing our same dilemma, especially the regional airports,” Camacho said.

He said the challenge for regional airports is providing nonstop service to desired destinations while nearby hub airports have established nonstop routes.

Complicating matters is that low-cost carriers have increased their services to hub airports.

Akron-Canton has seen two low-cost carriers, Frontier and Allegiant, forsake it for Cleveland Hopkins. Another low-cost carrier, Spirit, earlier this year cut its service to CAK to one flight a day, although it has indicated it will ramp up service to Florida later this year.

Spirit also has several routes from Hopkins.

Earlier this summer Delta Air Lines downgraded two of its three daily nonstop flights between Akron-Canton and Atlanta to regional jet service flown by a partner airline.

That means that CAK now has just two flights a day using mainline jet aircraft, one flight to Atlanta by Delta and Spirit’s service to Orlando. All other flights are using regional jet equipment.

To build traffic at Akron-Canton, Camacho said he will explore all options to add flights, including travel banks in which businesses pay an airline in advance to provide service.

“Nothing is off the table,” Camacho said, noting that the Pittsburgh International Airport is offering financial incentives to land carriers.

In talking with the community Camacho said his primary purposes will be to promote the airport’s assets and learn what businesses say they need in terms of flight frequency and routes.

“Are there opportunities for American, Delta, United and Spirit to add service?” he said, noting the names of the carriers that provide non-stop flights from CAK to 12 destinations.

McQueen had been holding similar discussions with the business community and those paid off when United launched regional jet service this past June from CAK to Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport.

The airport is seeking to increase the service to Houston beyond its current single roundtrip a day.

In the meantime, Camacho does not expect to change the $240 million, 20-year plan guiding capital improvements at CAK that was released two years ago.

On Aug. 28, work will begin on a gate replacement and modernization project, which will cost $32 million.

McQueen has been at the airport for 36 years, the last 10 as its president and CEO.

Before coming to Cleveland, Camacho spent 14 years in the engineering department of the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey.

He received a master’s degree in transportation planning and engineering from NYU/Polytechnic University and bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is an accredited airport executive, a registered professional engineer and a professional traffic operations engineer.

He will be paid $175,000 annually to head the Akron-Canton airport.

CAK Conducting National Search for CEO

May 5, 2018

Akron-Canton Airport has hired a headhunter to conduct a national search to find a new CEO.

Whoever is chosen will replace Rick McQueen, who plans to retire late this year.

The airport has hired ADK Consulting and Executive Search, a company it has used in the past to recruit managers.

The consulting firm has been talking with the airport board of trustees, reviewing past applications and assembling a community profile as part of its work.

If all goes according to plan, the applicants for the post will be narrowed to a handful of finalists by mid summer with interviews and visits to the region to begin shortly after that.

Airport officials hope to have a new CEO in position by fall who will work alongside McQueen for two or three months.

McQueen is retiring after working for the airport for 36 years. He began working there in 1982 as an accountant.

He replaced Fred Krum as airport CEO in 2009. Krum had retired after 33 years at Akron-Canton Airport, including 27 years as director.

The next airport CEO is expected to have 15 or more years of airport management experience as well as knowledge of federal, state and local laws, and Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

Officials said that whoever accepts the job might view it as a stepping stone to their next position or a forever job.

The new CEO will face the challenge of trying to reverse a downtown in boardings that has been prompted in large part by the loss of airline service at Akron-Canton and intensified competition for low-fare travelers from airlines that have ramped up their flight offerings at nearby Cleveland Hopkins Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport.

Passenger traffic at Akron-Canton fell to 1.26 million last year, a decline of 9.4 percent from the 1.40 million passengers who used the airport in 2016.

In the past two years Akron-Canton has lost Southwest Airlines and Allegiant Air. It earlier lost Frontier Airlines.

Allegiant moved its flights to Cleveland while Frontier and Southwest have been increasing their presence there.

Akron-Canton suffered another blow this year when Spirit Airlines trimmed its service to one route and ended flights to Las Vegas not long after they began.

Spirit continues to fly from Akron-Canton to Orlando once a day and plans to resume seasonal service to Fort Lauderdale and Tampa in the fall.

On the plus side, United Airlines plans to launch service in June from Akron-Canton to Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, flying one roundtrip a day with regional jet equipment under the United Express brand.

United Express to Link Akron-Canton and Houston in June; Airport CEO to Retire Late This Year

January 16, 2018

United Express will launch nonstop service from the Akron-Canton Airport to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport starting on June 8.

Bush Intercontinental is a major hub for United Airlines and serves as the carrier’s gateway to Latin American.

The regional jet flights to Houston will be operated by ExpressJet under the United Express brand name, departing from Akron-Canton at 7 a.m. and returning at 10:12 p.m.

In an unrelated development, the airport’s CEO has announced he will retire at the end of 2018 after serving in that position for the past decade.

Rick McQueen began working at the airport in 1982 as an accountant. During his time leading the airport, it has implemented an $118 million capital improvement plan that includes a runway extension, new parking and substantial terminal improvements.

“Nothing at the airport looks the same as the day I began working here,” McQueen said in a statement.

McQueen has seen the airport grow and then contract by losing service from such carriers as Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air.

Passenger traffic of late has been trending downward from a high of 1.84 million in 2012 to 1.36 in 2016.

McQueen continues to be optimistic that passenger traffic will begin growing again, saying that it tends to be cyclical.

“We’ve had our ups, we’ve had our downs. We think we’ll turn the corner and grow again,” McQueen said.

Akron-Canton has four airlines flying to 14 destinations, although at present none of those are located west of the Mississippi River.