An Artist Performs
The latest news from Washington is that Dick DeVos is doing an incredible job on the new Management Advisory Council, set up by the Federal Aviation Administration. The council includes 13 members from transportation policy and airline industry executives. As the FAA seeks to stabilize some parts of the industry that have become out of wack, it will look to the council to help with this advice, including issues with employment, security, regulations, and budgets.
The aviation industry has been seeing highs and lows for the past 10 years. While the digital boom brought about good prices for customers, it also changed the way that airlines had to maintain profits. Nowadays, you have to pay extra for every single piece of luggage, and the regulations have been causing issues for airlines that are able to cut prices so low that it causes unmatched competition in the market.
There are also technology advances that have yet to be met by the US airline industry, although many airlines and airports around the world have new technology for security, modern day travelers, and business travelers. The latest airports also need new flight control technology that will enable them to keep up with what other airports are doing in China and Japan.
DeVos comes from a prospective of being an aviation enthusiast, educator, and avid business leader. He has been in the circle long enough to know that it takes a lot more than regulations and policy advice to make changes. He has made tough calls in the past to help raise funds and expand some of his business interests in the aviation industry as well. This includes the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, for which he has partnered with the CEO over the past 10 years to develop.
While the airport was founded in the early 1900s, it has been steadily growing as the city has grown throughout the past 20 years. However, there was a period of time when the airport was quite stagnant and losing money. DeVos actually helped to turn that around after the re-launch of the airport in 1999. He worked out a deal with Air Tran Airways to bring in new flights. The expansion led to more flights being booked at the international airport. In addition, the airport is undergoing a $45 million renovation that will bring in new business travelers, food court options, and technology upgrades.
DeVos will be meeting with the council every three months to provide his own insights. He has worked with several airlines to expand the airport while also maintaining his own businesses, such as Amway and The Windquest Group. It will be interesting to see how he will incorporate some of his other knowledge to discussions about aviation education. The DeVos Family Foundation co-founded an aviation charter school right on the grounds of the airport as well.
In the next two years, DeVos will be working on the council to help the agency create new policies and make aviation a better place for US businesses.
Follow Dick DeVos on Facebook.