Is Dick DeVos Still Working with the FAA?
For those who don’t know, Dick DeVos joined his wife, the 11th US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, in Washington recently. He was there to work with the Management Advisory Council for the Federal Aviation Administration. He was appointed to the council in September 2017 after he had helped his local airport achieve so much growth that it has won several awards in the past few years.
The Gerald R. Ford International Airport used to be a small executive airport located outside of Grand Rapids. It had been open since the early 1900s, but it had never received too much praise or prominence because of its small flight offerings.
However, in 1999, the airport re-branded to the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. While it was still small and had the same flight offerings, it wasn’t able to make any sales, and it was still slowly clinging on. DeVos had a plan to change all of that and incorporate new flights into the business model that he was developing.
His plan worked. He was able to bring in more business travelers to the airport once new flight destinations were added to the most popular business destinations, such as Orlando, Las Vegas, St. Louis, and Denver. These new flights meant that business travelers could easily connect in the midwest, and the airport started to receive even more praise after it updated part of the airport through a $45 million renovation.
DeVos is now working with the FAA’s council to help the agency discover ways to help airports around the country. While the council mainly old transportation policymakers and airline executives, DeVos stands out as the one with experience of bringing airports out of the dark ages.
So why is the FAA paying so much attention to airports now?
Part of the reason is because of President Trump’s challenge to the FAA when he first took office. He stated that it was clear the nation’s airports had deteriorated and were not as technologically savvy as foreign airports. This challenge made many in the aviation world stand up and take notice.
DeVos has been working with the council ever since 2017 to make some changes. A new $40 million GSO Tower was just approved. DeVos continues to work with the airport and airlines in his hometown. He also co-founded a pilot training school on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport as well. This school is a charter school that allows pilots to learn all about flying, flight operation, airport procedures before they go into the workforce.
While it’s clear that DeVos has some time in the council before they complete their new policies and regulations, it’s clear that DeVos enjoys the political spotlight too.
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