A one-time ramp attendant for the small Waterloo-Wellington Flight Centre is coming home to the now much larger airport 15 years later, this time as its new general manager.
After working at WWFC, his first job in the aviation industry, Chris Wood moved on to the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), eventually serving as its consulting services manager. In addition, Wood has worked in other facets of the GTAA, holding positions in operations, strategic planning and facility activation at Pearson International Airport. During the opening of Pearson’s new Terminal 1, he managed the logistics, resources, and the execution of trials, and oversaw the shutdown and deactivation of Terminal 2.
Through GTAA consulting services, Wood conducted peer reviews for the British Airports Authority and the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation, and recently managed the successful activation of Terminal 5 for JetBlue Airways at JFK International Airport.
Wood holds a Bachelor of Science degree in aviation technical management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and an honours diploma in airport operations and management from Georgian College.
Although his résumé is extensive, it was not until his arrival at this new job that Wood believed that he had really achieved his goal.
“I have spent some time in a larger-airport setting, which was great, but I have always had the goal to get into a smaller site and have more of a broad responsibility. I am getting to do that now.”
The Kitchener-Waterloo Municipal Airport was originally constructed in 1929 on the Heinrich farm on Lexington Road, what is now Hillside Park. Completed in 1930, the airfield was mainly used by a flying instruction school. After that location of the airport shut down during World War II, it was decided that there needed to be a better location for the company. Established by the Waterloo-Wellington Airport Commission in 1948, the airport located in Breslau was completed in 1950. It has since been renamed the Region of Waterloo International Airport and today it is home to airlines such as WestJet, Bearskin airlines, Flightpath Charter Airlines and Sunwing Vacations.
The airport has undergone a series of changes over the past couple of years. More changes are on the horizon, said Wood.
“The new business plan focuses a lot on sustainability. In addition to the basic important things, safety and security of the airport, we want to move forward in working on things like the smaller aviation types of business.”
Now that Wood has started his new job, he also must focus on moving his family from the Toronto area back to Waterloo Region, a change he is really enjoying so far.
“I am looking forward to the job. It’s a great honour and a great responsibility and I don’t take it lightly. I am really appreciative of the opportunity, both for myself and my family.”