HOUSTON — A lifetime dedicated to the air transport industry was recognized recently when Houston Airports Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz was one of two professionals honored with a Professional Fellowship by the Air Transport Research Society.
A licensed private pilot with instrument certification, Diaz was honored for his “distinguished achievement in international air transport and service to the Air Transport Research Society,” at the ATRS 20th Anniversary World Conference in Rhodes, Greece. Approximately 250 delegates from around the world attended the conference, which Diaz also served as a session moderator and panel member.
Dr. Anne Graham, from the University of Westminster, also was honored with a Fellowship. The two fellows were recognized for their contributions to the ATRS as well as for their impact on the research and professional aviation communities.
“I am extremely honored to be recognized by a distinguished group of air transport professionals like the talented individuals that make up the Air Transport Research Society,” Diaz said. “ATRS is a vital resource that connects a variety of aviation professionals from around the world to present the latest research available to move our industry forward. Shared best practices benefit everyone, including airports, carriers and most importantly passengers, and providing the most efficient and productive customer experience possible is the common goal we all share.”
Named “Airport Director of the Year” by Airport Revenue News Magazine in 2013 and “Public Official of the Year” by the University of Houston Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program in 2014, Diaz began his leadership of the Houston Airport System in 2010, and since his arrival has successfully led efforts along three broad strategic fronts: establishing George Bush Intercontinental Airport as the region’s long-haul, full service international airport; converting William P. Hobby Airport to a regional international airport of the Americas; and developing Ellington Airport as the nations’ tenth licensed spaceport.
Under his leadership, Hobby Airport recently earned a 4-star rating by Skytrax, a leading global air transport rating organization.
In 2015, more than 55 million passengers passed through the gates at Bush Intercontinental and Hobby airports, More than 10 million of those flying aboard international flights. Both numbers represent all-time highs in airport passenger totals and the numbers are likely to increase moving forward, thanks to the steady expansion of international carriers operating at Bush, and to the establishment of regional international flight service at Hobby.