Director of Airports – ICT

Website Wichita Airport Authority of the City of Wichita

Distinguishing Features of Work

The Greater Wichita region is a region under remarkable transformation. With an aviation heritage spanning 100 years, it is a city built on entrepreneurship and innovation. A skilled talent pipeline with the pure, raw talent for building complex structures and products, translates to success and growth across multiple industries.

From the early days of aircraft manufacturing to today’s modern manufacturing breakthroughs, Wichita is the Air Capital of the World and one of the world’s five true aviation clusters. While Wichita’s historic leadership in aerospace production has helped make its name, the city’s overall manufacturing legacy is just as established. Ranked as the most manufacturing-specialized region in the United States and home to the number-one skilled workforce, the Greater Wichita region provides direct access to the most-trained and most-advanced workers in the world. Paired with world-class education and research facilities, the region’s ecosystem delivers impressive intellectual infrastructure through training an ascending pipeline of talent.

Wichita is home to a thriving, diverse community of creators and entrepreneurs, driven by robust industries such as information technology and transportation and logistics. Named one of the fastest-growing tech centers in the nation and ranked number one in digital service job growth by the Brookings Institution, the Greater Wichita region is the nation’s best kept secret in the IT sector. The Greater Wichita region is also home to some of the world’s most recognizable brands, including the two largest privately held companies in the U.S., Cargill Protein and Koch Industries.  And, as the birthplace of household brands – Pizza Hut, White Castle and Coleman – a spirit of entrepreneurism continues to fuel hundreds of start-ups in a city dedicated to big ideas.

Wichita is full of diverse experiences and has a cultural arts scene that rivals many major metro areas with nationally known artists and culinary experts, short commute times and a low cost of living. With a central national location, competitive commercial utility and rental rates that fall below national averages, the Greater Wichita region positions businesses to thrive. With a pro-business environment in the hard-working heart of the nation, the Greater Wichita region is full of possibilities to bring business goals to reality.

To support the Wichita Airport Authority, which owns and operates the Airport System of Dwight D. Eisenhower National and Colonel James Jabara airports, the City of Wichita Department of Airports has approximately 145 full-time equivalent employees who operate, maintain, regulate, provide public safety, and develop the Airport System.  A number of outside direct contract personnel also provide specialized services, such as parking and shuttle operations, and customer services in the Airline Terminal. The department is divided among the following divisions:  Administration & Finance, Air Service Development & Marketing, Properties & Contracts, Engineering, Planning and Environment, Airport Operations, Airport Police & Fire, Parking Operations, Building, Utilities & Facilities Maintenance, and Airfield, Fleet & Grounds Maintenance.  The Department has an annual operating budget of approximately $34 million, and a 10-year Capital Improvement Program of about $100 million.  The budget produces about $3 million in net cash flow after debt service expenses. No city taxpayer or general funds are used for operations, maintenance, and development of the Airport System.

The WAA governing body is the Wichita City Council, and it approves all leases and contracts for the Airport System.  The President of the WAA is the Mayor of the City of Wichita.

The WAAB provides advice and recommendations to the Wichita Airport Authority, the Wichita City Manager, and the Director of Airports on matters of policy and strategic long-term development issues affecting the Wichita Airport System of Eisenhower National and Jabara airports. The Board serves in an advisory capacity, and consists of thirteen members. Seven members are appointed by the City Council, and five are nominated by the Board of County Commissioners of Sedgwick County and appointed by the City Council. The Regional Economic Area Partnership (REAP) directly appoints one of its members to serve on the WAAB.

Wichita Eisenhower National Airport (ICT)
The Wichita Eisenhower National Airport (ICT) is a small hub air carrier and general aviation complex[RS2] , providing accommodations for all aircraft, as well as the latest innovations in passenger convenience, safety and efficiency.   As Kansas’ largest and busiest airport, ICT draws passengers from the Wichita metro area of 750,000, two-thirds of Kansas, and Northern Oklahoma.  In 2019, the airport saw 1.75 million passengers use its new terminal, which was the highest level of passengers in the Airport’s history.  The Airport was named the 3rd Best Small Airport in the United States for 2020 by USA Today following a national poll.  A new $250 million airline terminal complex was opened in 2015, and it has received numerous national and local awards for excellence in design, construction, and sustainability.  The Airport continues to receive accolades for outstanding customer service through social media and guest surveys.

The Airport has 7 major airlines serving 14 nonstop destinations with approximately 70 flights per day. This provides about 975 domestic one-stop cities and nearly 100 international one-stop cities reachable from the Airport through its airline service network.  There are 3 major air cargo airlines serving the Airport, along with 2 full-service fixed base operators, 7 rental car companies, 2 hotels on the campus, and several FAA and TSA regional office facilities.  There are more than 200 based aircraft on the Airport.

The Airport is conveniently located 5.2 miles southwest of Wichita’s central business district.  The Airport has more than 3,380 acres, and is bordered by US Highway 54/500, Highway K-42, and has easy access to I-235.  The Airport is home to more than 100 aerospace tenants on its campus, including the world headquarters of Textron Aviation,  Bombardier, Flight Safety International, and Garmin to name a few.   Continued development of the 140+ acres of available airfield and the 350+ acres of non-airfield land is a major component of the Airport’s strategic plan, and staff works closely with the City’s economic development office and the regional economic development organization Greater Wichita Partnership   The Airport contributes more than $5 billion in annual economic impact to the region, along with more than 20,000 local jobs.

The largest planned project is for airfield pavement reconstruction at Eisenhower Airport. The Airport Authority plans to spend more than $60 million on airfield pavement renovations at this airport from 2021-2030 through major capital projects.

Col. James Jabara Airport (AAO)
The Colonel James Jabara Airport is a general aviation reliever for the Wichita metro area, with an average of 104 aircraft operations per day.  Located at 3512 N. Webb Road, the airport is conveniently located in the rapidly developing business district of Northeast Wichita, and has easy access to highway K-254 and Highway K-96. The airport encompasses about 815 acres, which includes 135+ acres of airfield access property as well as 230+ acres of non-airfield access property.   Colonel James Jabara Airport is home to the acclaimed National Center for Aviation Training and Wichita State University’s WSU Tech campus.  The NCAT also incorporates facilities for Wichita State University’s globally-acclaimed National Institute for Aviation Research.    In addition, this airport is currently experiencing major development of business jet and corporate aviation facilities. Included on the campus are a full-service fixed-base operator, an Embraer business jet service center, a Cessna Service Center, and the home of the South Central Kansas Chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association.  An updated master plan for the airport is currently under development.  The area surrounding Jabara Airport is experiencing significant residential, retail and commercial growth in medical, logistics and manufacturing sectors including such companies as Amazon, Lee Aerospace, and Figeac. The adjacent K-96 freeway is slated for widening in next five years.

The Director of Airports is responsible for the executive leadership of the Department of Airports and for oversight and operations of Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport and Colonel James Jabara Airport. The Department is the landlord of both airports and its real estate activities, and provides services to airlines, tenants, customers, and visitors. The Department strives to serve as a “one-stop shop” for tenants and prospective tenants, as well as provides quality facilities and services on a self-sustaining basis to its customers and guests. Generation of non-airline revenues is important to the financial sustainability of the Airport, so aggressive real estate development is a major component of the Director’s activities in conjunction with local economic development partners.
This is administrative and managerial work directing and coordinating all functions within the Airport System and advising the Airport Authority governing body (the Wichita City Council) on all airport business. The Director implements the policies and programs as formulated by the Airport Authority and work is directed and reviewed by the City Manager.

Real estate activities are a very important part of the Department’s portfolio of services since all land and improvements on both airports are owned by the Airport Authority.  Many aviation-related businesses reside at Eisenhower, and the Airport Authority continuously pursues expansion opportunities that promote the economic and job growth interests of the Wichita area. Colonel James Jabara Airport also houses many tenant-occupied facilities. Like Eisenhower, Jabara is thriving under the direction of the WAA with guidance and support from the Wichita Airport Advisory Board.

Similar to all US airports, passenger levels at Eisenhower National were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Airline traffic in 2020 decreased 55% from the all-time record high in 2019.  This decrease was less than the drop-off in traffic at the surrounding airports in Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Arkansas.   Traffic at ICT has begun a rebound in 2021 and is anticipated to grow to about 75% of 2019 this year. In reaction to COVID-19, federal financial relief grant money of more than 20 million has been awarded to the Airport which is being used to pay operating, maintenance and debt service expenses to offset revenue losses experienced during the pandemic. Over 50% of the Airport’s revenues are activity based so diligent management of expenses is necessary while addressing the impact on airline rates and charges.  Airline fees have been held to the same or slightly less levels than in the previous year due to strategic management of operating and capital expenses during the pandemic year.

Many important capital projects are underway or in the planning stages to sustain Wichita’s Airport System. Continuous improvement to Wichita’s airports make them attractive for businesses, cargo services, and commercial ventures. Staff and its business partners in the community will continue to pursue opportunities to promote airport services and attract new businesses, flights, and services to Wichita’s airports to aid in the recovery process.

Challenges for the Airport System in the near future include financial and operational recovery from the pandemic’s impacts, managing a very dynamic airline route structure due to changes in travel patterns of business and leisure passengers due to Covid-19, the changing nature of industrial park real estate activity, and the continued competition by other states and communities to attract Wichita’s aerospace industry.


Examples of Work Performed

·         Plans, organizes, controls, directs, and evaluates all functions, methods, and results of airport activities.

·         Develops and presents financial plans to the Authority.

·         Monitors all local, state, and federal legislation which in any way affects the Authority, and lobbies for the benefit of the airport system.

·         Composes and/or directs the composition of correspondence, reports, and information.

·         Represents the interest of the Authority at official meetings and conferences where airport matters are involved.

·         Negotiates and oversees the development of all lease and use agreements.

·         Initiates, directs, and/or conducts air service enhancement and industrial development activities.

·         Coordinates and directs all legal and public relations activities.

·         Completion of work assignments may require the operation of a vehicle.

·         The examples of work performed are not intended to be all-inclusive.

·         The City of Wichita reserves the right to assign additional duties and responsibilities as needed.

Requirements of Work

·         Thorough knowledge of the rules, regulations, and laws governing airport development and related operations and activities at all levels of government.

·         Ability to analyze the aviation industry and formulate plans to meet its needs.

·         Ability to formulate and administer airport policies and procedures.

·         Ability to effectively plan, organize, and supervise the work of others.

·         Ability to lean and reach as needed to read and interpret building plans and specifications from a print that may be as large as 36 by 48 inches with information printed as small as twenty characters per inch.

·         Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with associates, employees of other Departments,  representatives of other organizations, City officials, and the public.

·         Ability to communicate clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing.

·         May require ability to acquire and maintain a valid Kansas driver’s license.

·         An employee shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals in the workplace.


Professionalism and Ethics

Ability to act with honesty, integrity, competence and diligence.

Strategic Leadership and Management

Ability recognize and monitor future trends and economic conditions as well as flexibility to anticipate uncertainty and implement alternative strategies during those periods.

Interpersonal Skills and Relationship Building

Ability to relate and interact with all types of people to create consensus building bring various interests together to reach a decision each party can support.   Cultivating quality relationships is paramount.

Media Management

Demonstrated experience in dealing with the media and managing the publicity and image of the airport.

Political and Sector Awareness

Politically astute and savvy, but apolitical and not involved in local politics.  Able to effectively and diplomatically deal with elected and appointed officials at the highest levels

Financial Analysis

Ability to understand financial implications of decision-making, including, but not limited to, financial analysis of real estate agreements, analysis of a concession proposal, or a bond financing transaction.

Vision and Business Development Acumen

Demonstrated experience in defining the vision with stakeholders, policymakers, customers as well as employees to provide a sense of direction for demanding exceptional performance and building a cohesive team.   The ability to consistently message the vision is critical to customer service and the travel experience.


Ability to quickly analyze complex situations and objectively.    Makes decisions in a way that maintains transparency and engagement with citizens.  Provides leaders and managers with information for better decision-making — enabling improved targeted services.

Required Experience and Training

A Bachelor’s degree in business administration, aviation or airport administration, public administration, or a related field is required.  A Master’s degree is desirable.  A minimum of 10 years of increasingly responsible senior executive management experience at an airline airport of a small hub or larger size is required.  Professional Accreditation (AAE) from the American Association of Airport Executives is required.


$125,000.00 – 209,000.00 Annually


No later than July 4 at 11:59 PM CT

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