By Maria-Jose Subiria
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Aviation General Manager Ben DeCosta recently received the Leadership Award from the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), according to airport Media Relations Manager Katena Carvajales.
DeCosta received the award during the association's "82nd Annual AAAE Conference and Exposition," in Dallas, Texas, Carvajales said. The award is presented only when the organization's chairperson wants to recognize an AAAE member who has made a significant contribution to AAAE and the aviation industry, she added.
"I am extremely honored to be recognized by the AAAE," DeCosta said in a statement. "It has been a privilege to work with the airport industry's best and brightest. I am happy to have served as a board member to further the education and training of industry professionals. My association with the AAAE also has given me the opportunity to help advocate for important policies that benefit the industry."
The AAAE describes itself as the world's largest professional organization for airport executives.
Sean Broderick, a spokesman for the organization, said DeCosta was accredited by the AAAE in 2006. "Fewer than 10 percent of the organization's members have earned this distinction," Carvajales added.
DeCosta served on the organization's board of directors in 2008 and 2009, was chairperson of AAAE's National Airports Conference in 2009, and has been part of the organization's Airport Legislative Alliance for the past decade, said Broderick.
DeCosta received the award for his "many important contributions to our association and to the airport management community over the years," said John Duval, chairman of the AAAE. "Ben is a respected leader with a long history of success in the airport management field."
Under DeCosta's leadership of more than a decade, Hartsfield-Jackson began its $6 billion-plus Capital Improvement Program, which has included the construction of a fifth runway, a new rental car center, and the ongoing construction of the Maynard H. Jackson, Jr., International Terminal, slated for completion in April 2012, according to Carvajales.
Earlier this year, DeCosta announced that he would be leaving the airport when his contract expires June 30.
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