Detroit Metropolitan and Willow Run airports begin new year with new CEO

Airport Authority Board appoints Joseph R. Nardone, C.M.

News Releases
Jan 17

DETROIT (Jan. 17, 2017) – A new chief executive officer is now leading the Wayne County Airport Authority, which operates Detroit Metropolitan (DTW) and Willow Run (YIP) airports. On Dec. 21, 2016, the WCAA Board voted unanimously to appoint Joseph R. Nardone to serve as CEO. Previously, he was the Airport Authority’s Vice President of Business Development & Real Estate for nearly two years before becoming Interim CEO. Nardone is credited with playing a critical role in the negotiations that led to the construction of Spirit Airlines’ new maintenance hangar at DTW. The project is expected to generate $31.7 million in new private investment for Michigan’s economy.

“Joe has proven to be a committed and thoughtful leader,” said WCAA Acting Board Chair Michael Garavaglia. “His depth of experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors— combined with his understanding of airport administration—will help him successfully lead the Airport Authority. I look forward to WCAA’s continued growth with Joe at the helm.”

“I am grateful for the confidence the Airport Authority Board has shown in me,” said Airport Authority CEO Joseph Nardone. “I also appreciate the opportunity to work with more than 600 dedicated employees, as we build on the strong foundation and community partnerships that have made our team successful. I want our team to remain focused on delivering a world- class experience for our customers.”

DTW’s passenger traffic continues to increase and airlines are steadily adding new routes from Detroit to destinations around the globe. Earlier this month, OAG announced Detroit Metro Airport ranked first among U.S. airports and third globally in on-time performance. Detroit Metro Airport alone supports more than 86,000 jobs throughout Michigan, and the economic impact of DTW and YIP on the state is more than $10.2 billion.

“On behalf of ACI-NA, I congratulate Joe Nardone on his appointment as the new CEO of the Wayne County Airport Authority,” said Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO of Airports Council International – North America, the trade association representing airports in the United States and Canada. “Running a modern and competitive airport is no easy task. Joe is a proven and engaged leader who understands airports, people and business. I look forward to working with Joe and the excellent team at WCAA in advancing our industry’s shared mission to strengthen every airport’s ability to serve their passengers, customers and communities.”

“We have worked with Joe Nardone for the past several years as a partner with the Airport and the Detroit Region Aerotropolis,” said Doug Rothwell, President and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “Joe has always been very hard-working, gracious and professional. We congratulate him on his new role and look forward to continuing our strong working relationship.”

“Delta Air Lines congratulates the Wayne County Airport Authority on its selection of Joe Nardone as CEO,” said Andrea Fischer Newman, Delta's Senior Vice President - Government Affairs. “We look forward to partnering with him in his new role as we build on our shared goals to deliver a best-in-class air travel experience and continue to position Detroit Metro Airport as one of the premier airports in the world.”

Nardone is a Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and former Executive Committee Member and Interim CEO of the Detroit Region Aerotropolis. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University and is a lifelong resident of Southeast Michigan.

The initial term of Nardone’s employment agreement is three years.

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) welcomed more than 33 million passengers in 2015 and is one of the world’s leading air transportation hubs. With service from 13 scheduled passenger airlines, Michigan’s largest airport offers more than 1,100 flights per day to and from more than 140 non-stop destinations on four continents. With two award-winning passenger terminals, six jet runways, and an onsite AAA Four-Diamond Westin Hotel, DTW is among the world’s most efficient, customer friendly and operationally capable airports in North America. DTW is operated by Wayne County Airport Authority, which also operates nearby Willow Run Airport – an important corporate, cargo and general aviation facility. The Airport Authority is entirely self-sustaining and does not receive tax dollars to support airport operations. Visit or for more information.

Erica Donerson
Vice President, Communications and External Affairs
Wayne County Airport Authority
Lisa Gass
Media Relations Manager
Wayne County Airport Authority