Episode 72. Why most airports are poorly managed, with Mike Jones

Airports are missing out on $35 billion in economic impact because they're not well run - that's according to pilot and airport management expert Michael Jones. He explains the cause of this underperformance and why the structure of an airport management team is so important. Mike is also a longtime Cessna 210 owner, so he shares stories about this do-everything piston single, including the time he took one to 27,000 feet. In the Ready to Copy segment you'll hear tips for successful Young Eagles flights, what skills Mike learned as an air traffic controller in Vietnam, and the best golf course in the Carolinas.  


  • Why airports matter: “By having airports, we can create economic prosperity for flyers and non-flyers.”
  • Why inefficient management persists: “Most airports are managed the way they are purely because of momentum… There’s no profit and loss incentive.”
  • How to measure success: “The city manager and county commissioners aren’t looking at the real big picture, which is the total economic impact.”
  • His personal experience: “Managing an airport and running it properly is way, way harder than I ever thought it was.”
  • Owning a Cessna 210: “It is simply the most versatile machine you can possibly imagine. It is also a money-sucking hole in the sky.”
  • How to have a good Young Eagles flight: “Listen to the kids who stop talking.”
  • What he learned as air traffic controller: “That makes you a tremendous evaluator of your options... Just when things go bad, they can go even worser.”

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