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Phoenix Announces James Bennett as New Aviation Director

by Public Relations | Published On: Aug 18, 2015 | Last Updated: 

The city of Phoenix has chosen James Bennett from a national search as the new aviation director. The city’s airports include Sky Harbor International Airport, one of the ten busiest commercial airports in the country, Phoenix Deer Valley, Phoenix Goodyear and membership in the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority. Bennett brings decades of international aviation expertise and a strategic understanding of Phoenix after previously working for the city.

In a career spanning nearly 35 years, Bennett has served as president and chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, operating Ronald Reagan Washington National, Washington Dulles International Airports as well as working in private industry as chief executive officer for the Abu Dhabi Airports Company overseeing five airports within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and president of his own consulting firm providing consultation for both foreign and domestic transportation companies.

From 1988 to 1996 Bennett was Phoenix’s assistant aviation director assisting with successful community discussions leading to a third runway at Sky Harbor, overseeing the construction and development of Sky Harbor’s Terminal 4 and supervising the airport’s finance, engineering, planning and maintenance operations among other duties.

“I am delighted to have been selected for the position of aviation director for the city of Phoenix,” said Bennett. “I look forward to returning to the Valley and joining a dynamic team at the city and the aviation department as we address the many challenges and opportunities facing the aviation industry in the Phoenix area.”

Phoenix city manager, Ed Zuercher, praised Bennett’s management experience as being a good fit for the city’s airports: “Jim has extensive aviation knowledge and a proven track record of success in the aviation industry. He knows the issues facing major aviation systems like ours in Phoenix, and I am pleased to have him join the Phoenix team to provide leadership on the aviation issues facing us at the community, state and federal levels,” said Zuercher.

Bennett has a Bachelor’s of Aviation Management from Auburn University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Michigan. His numerous professional affiliations include being the former chairman of the American Association of Airport Executives and past president of the Arizona Airports Association.

Bennett will begin working for the city on Oct. 5, at which time Acting Aviation Director Paul Blue will return to his permanent assignment as a deputy city manager overseeing aviation and economic development-related departments.


Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, America’s Friendliest Airport,has an annual economic impact of nearly $29 billion. Every day approximately 1,200 aircraft and more than 100,000 passengers arrive and depart at Sky Harbor, making it one of the ten busiest airports in the United States. PHX Sky Harbor is funded with Airport revenue. No local tax dollars are used to support the Airport.