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The board of directors of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) announced the appointment of Deborah Flint as president and chief executive officer of the GTAA. Flint will commence her new role in April 2020 following more than four years as CEO of Los Angeles World Airports and 24 years serving in executive roles in the aviation industry.
“Deborah is a proven aviation executive who has been leading Los Angeles World Airports, one of the world’s largest passenger and cargo airports, through a period of significant transformation, including the development of an intermodal transit centre,” said Doug Allingham, chair of the GTAA board of directors. “The GTAA board undertook a global search for a new leader to help guide Toronto Pearson through its next phase of growth, and we are pleased to have found a Canadian-born airport executive with the energy, passion and experience to continue on with our vision to make Toronto Pearson the best airport in the world.”
In her role at Los Angeles World Airports, which operates both Los Angeles International and Van Nuys (general aviation) airports, Flint has focused the organization on the $14-billion modernization of its terminals, runway improvements, and a comprehensive transit program that includes roadway improvements and an intermodal transportation facility. Flint’s deep experience in connecting airports to regional transit networks dates back to her tenure as aviation director of Oakland International Airport where she delivered the BART, a US$480 million airport rail project.
“In the world of international airports, Toronto Pearson is a rising and notable star, known for its significant accomplishments on passenger service, growth in passenger traffic, and its leadership in working with both industry and community partners to take a regional perspective on the role a mega-hub airport plays in lifting those around it,” said Flint. “As a Canadian-born airport executive, I consider it a privilege to be able to return home to lead this organization and ensure it continues to deliver benefits to all of our stakeholders.”
Los Angeles World Airports has an impressive story, serving more than 87.5 million passengers and two million tons of cargo in 2018. In addition to being the fourth busiest passenger airport in the world, it is the only U.S. airport to serve as a hub for four U.S. legacy carriers (Alaska Airlines, American, Delta and United). It is considered to be one of two North American mega-hub airports, with Toronto Pearson focused on joining the ranks by the end of 2019. Mega-hub international hub airports serve more than 50 million passengers, with a high percentage of connecting and international passengers.
As a recognized leader within the international and U.S. aviation community, Flint serves as a member of the Airports Council International board, appointee to the U.S. DOT Drone Advisory Committee, and chair of the oversight committee of the Transportation Research Board’s Airport Cooperative Research Program. Beyond the airport industry, she has served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank and is a director of the Honeywell Corporation.
Flint will take over the position as president and CEO following the planned retirement of current president and CEO Howard Eng in March 2020. Eng led Toronto Pearson from 2012 and oversaw a period of record passenger growth, a dedicated focus on customer service and a dramatic expansion of the airport’s retail and service offerings. Allingham thanked Eng for his years of service and wished him a happy and productive retirement.
“After nearly 40 years running airports around the world, Howard’s retirement is a bittersweet moment in the history of Toronto Pearson,” stated Allingham. “We will continue to benefit from his dedication for years to come, as we reap the benefits of the decisions that he made over his eight-year term at Canada’s busiest airport.”