Jim Szczesniak appointed Director of Aviation for Houston Airports

"I am confident that Jim Szczesniak’s proven track record and visionary leadership will propel Houston Airports and the Houston Spaceport to new heights,” said Mayor John Whitmire.

February 27, 2024

HOUSTON – With unanimous confirmation from the City Council today, Mayor John Whitmire has appointed Jim Szczesniak as the Director of Aviation for the City of Houston. Szczesniak will oversee the management and operations of George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), Ellington Airport (EFD) and the Houston Spaceport. Szczesniak previously served as the Chief Operating Officer for Houston Airports. Szczesniak brings a wealth of experience and expertise in the aviation industry, positioning him to lead Houston Airports and the Houston Spaceport into a promising future.

"I am confident that Jim Szczesniak’s proven track record and visionary leadership will propel Houston Airports and the Houston Spaceport to become first-class operations,” said Mayor John Whitmire. "Our airport system is part of the nerve system of this great city and you cannot take it for granted. I stand ready to join Mr. Szczesniak in a united endeavor and I believe that greater days are in front of us." 

With a distinguished career spanning over two decades in both the public and private sectors, Szczesniak has a track record of implementing airport growth programs while managing airports to an award-winning level of customer service. As Director of Aviation for Houston Airports, he’s poised to drive strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing the efficiency, safety and overall world-class airport experience for travelers, aviation partners and airport stakeholders. 

Previously, Szczesniak served as the Airport Director for the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC), the world’s fourth busiest air cargo airport and gateway to Alaska. He also spent a decade at the Chicago Department of Aviation. Jim started in airport operations at O’Hare International Airport. He eventually became Director of Airport Planning and ultimately Deputy Commissioner of Aviation for O’Hare Airport and Midway International Airport. He joined Houston Airports in February 2022. 

Szczesniak confirmed

I am humbled, honored, and excited to lead Houston Airports into a new era that includes the growth and modernization of our airports as we endeavor to connect even more of the world to Houston, a world-class global gateway known for safe and clean facilities and our Houston-friendly hospitality, said Jim Szczesniak. “Together, with the City of Houston, Houston Airports is steadfast in our commitment to lead the industry in innovative and thoughtful solutions that continue to enhance and expand the passenger experience.” 

Szczesniak holds a master's degree in business administration from the University of Chicago and a bachelor's in aviation management from Southern Illinois University. Jim is a licensed commercial pilot and aircraft mechanic. Jim is an Accredited Airport Executive by the American Association of Airport Executives.

ABOUT HOUSTON AIRPORTS | Houston Airports is the City of Houston’s Department of Aviation and is comprised of George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), and Ellington Airport/Houston Spaceport (EFD). Houston Airports positions Houston as the international passenger and cargo gateway to the South-Central United States and as a primary gateway to Latin America. 
Houston Airports: 
  • Served a record 60.1 million passengers in 2023
  • Contributes $36.4 billion to the local economy
  • Is responsible for 190,000 jobs, including 1,200 city workers

As of 2022, William P. Hobby Airport is the first and only 5-Star Skytrax airport in North America. George Bush Intercontinental Airport has maintained a 4-Star Skytrax rating for the last 6 consecutive years. Houston Airports is the first-ever winner of the World Airport Awards Best Art in an Airport. In 2023, passengers surveyed by ACI voted Hobby Airport the Most Enjoyable Airport in North America.

REDEVELOPMENT PROJECTS | Sparked by demand from passengers and airlines, Houston Airports is moving forward with construction of a new international terminal at Bush Airport, the transformation of Terminal B at Bush Airport and a 7-gate expansion at Hobby Airport. The increased capacity and modern facilities will support the continued growth of Houston for years to come.