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William Shea - Articles and news items

My first week in airport management

Issue 6 2011  •  8 December 2011  •  William Shea, Former FAA Associate Administrator

My job as Airport Manager at Burlington, Vermont Municipal Airport, from 1967 to 1971 was one of the most exciting and diverse times of my working life. Back then it was a small to medium hub airport in Northern New England. I eventually persuaded the City Council to change the name from ‘Municipal’ to Burlington (BTV) which enabled the airport to be listed on all the pilot weather charts around the world.I remember the first morning of my first week as if it was yesterday. I approached the aerodrome at dawn and surveyed the flickering of the airport’s rotating beacon light in the distance. Jetliners were approaching and departing with Vermont’s mountain range in the background. Elsewhere, Air National Guard F-102 fighters were launching into the murky, dawn sky. I could see the tails of the airline aircraft parked at the gates and beyond that, the silhouetted FAA control tower. The terminal was very busy, an upbeat environment with a rhythm of its own as travellers were arriving to catch early morning flights.

The future of Californian aviation

Issue 4 2011  •  8 August 2011  •  William Shea, Former FAA Associate Administrator

If it were a separate nation, California would be one of the largest economies in the world. Currently the population of the Golden State stands at 36 million with an expected increase to 60 million by 2040. Air travel demand will increase dramatically and because of the enormous size of California a new aviation board should be created to ensure that it has meaningful aviation policies, strategic plans and a vision for future aviation. The board should also monitor all aviation activity such as safety, cargo growth and airports.Recently, aviation planning within California has not met the needs of the region with the potential for air and ground gridlock to increase dramatically. Back in July 2007, the Transportation Research Board issued a request for the proposal Airport Co-Operative Research Programmes ACRP 03-10 entitled Innovative approaches to addressing coastal mega regions. The request refers to the West Coast and the North East stating that “......the conditions in these two areas are projected to get worse in the future and that the state wide planning system is not sufficient enough to address capacity limitations.”


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