Anthony Caruso is director of Bangor International airport, Maine, a site serving around 700,000 people. Operating an FBO and handling transatlantic flights, it makes a strong contribution to region’s economy
How did you get into the aviation industry?
It was through my love for aircraft and piloting. I have always been fascinated by the aviation industry and air travel in general. From an early age I can remember being taken to the closest airport to watch aircraft, but also to see what was happening on the airfield, which is truly its own separate world. I remember wanting to be part of it. As I have aged, the fascination is still there, now coupled with an admiration for how our industry impacts the world from many different aspects. This includes emergency transport, cargo and shipping, the movement of people, and it has brought people much closer and improved our quality of life.
How has your career progressed?
I have a varied background, but it has served me well. My career combines different aspects of the aviation industry, from airlines, to fixed-base operations [FBOs], to airports. My diversified background serves me well as director at Bangor International airport [BGR]. Here, we are somewhat unique as we own and operate the FBO. Our geographic location allows us to handle trans-Atlantic flights. Given our facility, personnel, and equipment, we are able to handle any aircraft in service today. Our staff is very proud of that fact. My background in different disciplines of aviation fits well with our mission at BGR. I am also very humbled and honoured to be only the fifth director in our airport’s rich 50-year history.
What are the highlights of your career?
I could mention some of the awards and recognition I have received throughout the years, but nothing compares to an operation that I spearheaded back in 2009. That year, we were involved with handling the Gumball 3000 road rally operation. This is an annual 3,000-mile [4,830km] road rally by VIPs who travel through various locations around the globe. That year, they did a northern European section and then flew to the USA where they finished with a northeast US section. We had the opportunity to handle this operation, which included several 747 freighters filled with high performing [and expensive] vehicles. It also included a passenger aircraft that transported all the participants.
Through this operation, it was truly a team effort. To make it successful, we called upon personnel from many BGR divisions. The way that they worked together for a common purpose was outstanding and showcased our ability. Being a part of this operation and this team was very rewarding.
What does your job involve?
My job is to ensure that BGR operates efficiently day to day. I have a great senior management team directly responsible for the many divisions we operate. What I enjoy about working at BGR is that I can be involved in some of the day-to-day functions and work beside great people. I also have the opportunity to be involved with business development and community outreach. Being able to be part of economic development in our region and helping to increase the number of job opportunities for our community is very rewarding.
We also have a very supportive city council, city management team, and a community that is very proud of its airport. My job is to make sure that all are well informed about their airport and this is a task I don’t take lightly.
Why did you move into airport management?
Working on an airfield has always excited me. It’s more than just airplanes, but an airfield can be a special community. While some describe it as its own city, I believe that it is its own community. Being a part of, and being responsible for this community is a role that I cherish. Airport management also allows me the unique opportunity to continue to help build and shape this community.
What are the challenges?
Aviation is the most regulated industry. The challenge is to operate safely and successfully in this type of demanding environment. At BGR, we are regulated by just about every governmental agency you can think of, the Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Safety Authority, Department of Transportation etc...the list is expansive! We are also tasked with operating an organisation that is similar to a public utility, however, attempting to operate as a business enterprise. This brings its own set of inherent challenges, but it is highly rewarding, and even energising. If you can make it as an airport director, you can make it almost anywhere!
What do you enjoy most about your role?
My interaction with our team, our stakeholders, vendors and customers. Being a part of an operation that is responsible for ensuring people (and goods) are connected globally is exciting. Having the opportunity to do this alongside a great team is fulfilling. Playing even a small role, in connecting people to the world, is something I truly enjoy.
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