While training as an air traffic controller for the U.S. Air Force in Germany, Chris Curry had to help land 16 jets individually on a foggy day, as each was running out of fuel. The situation was made more complicated by the fact each of the jets was at an altitude between 7,000 and 23,000 feet.
So managing a couple of local airports and the Metro Aeroplex at Brookley should be a piece of cake.
The Mobile Airport Authority’s new executive director, Curry has been on the job a little more than a week but is already excited by the opportunities in the city.
“I think this is the best job that I ever had,” he said. “And again, I did not come here with my eyes closed, but just the idea of the airport being able to provide such a significant benefit to the community is very exciting to me, and I think that we have that opportunity at this particular time.”
One of those benefits in the future might be Mobile residents having access to more flights at a lower cost. Curry sees the possibility of having both the Mobile Regional Airport and the city’s downtown airport available for commercial service in the future.
“Neither airport is going away,” he said. “It’s what is the best purpose for each airport to serve for the benefit of the customer.”
For example, Curry said he would “absolutely” consider providing commercial service out of both airports if an airline not currently at the regional airport came to the MAA and showed interest in flying only out of the downtown airport.
“Because, at the end of the day, the two largest issues people have with the airport is not enough flights and they’re expensive,” he said. “So, if allowing a different role at Brookley airport to make travel less expensive and to provide other destinations, I think that’s one of our main purposes for being.”
Another purpose of the MAA is on the manufacturing side and listening to industrial customers such as Airbus and others. To that end, Curry said there’s a possibility for expansion of Brookley’s footprint.
“I definitely see that as a possibility,” he said. “And as we look at the role and the personnel that play a part in that role, economic development for Brookley should be a priority.”
Before coming to Mobile, Curry was director of the airport authority in Tallahassee. Before that, he oversaw three general aviation airports in Naples, Florida, for the Collier County Airport Authority. Prior to his move to Florida, he was the assistant director of the Gary-Chicago International Airport in Gary, Indiana.
Curry spent 20 years in the Air Force as an air traffic controller before transitioning to Boeing-owned Jeppesen. He is a native of Savannah.