Cleveland hires Oakland airport director to steer city airports
Mayor Justin Bibb has tapped a new leader to oversee Cleveland’s airports after nine months without a permanent director.
Bryant L. Francis will soon take the reins as the director of port control just as the city prepares for a 20-year overhaul of Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport with a $2 billion price tag.
Francis currently serves as the Director of Aviation at the Port of Oakland in California. He holds a degree in Aviation Management and has a decades-long history at other airports in Long Beach, Shreveport, Boise, Detroit and Palm Springs serving in executive roles, operations, marketing, real estate and more.
“I was struck by Bryant’s dedication to public service and accountability as well as his natural ability to quickly connect and relate to the people he met with when he spent the day with us in Cleveland,” Cleveland Chief Operating Officer Bonnie Teeuwen said in a written statement. “He knows this business inside out and is also someone who highly values culture and collaboration—a perfect fit for this role.”
He will assume the role at the end of May from Dennis Kramer, who has served as the interim director since Robert Kennedy retired in July 2022.
Francis’s arrival comes at a pivotal time for the city’s airports. As Cleveland-Hopkins prepares for decades of reconstruction and renovation, Burke Lakefront Airport faces an uncertain future.
Last fall, the Bibb administration began seeking consultants to evaluate Burke’s economic impact. The airport, which acts as a reliever to Cleveland-Hopkins, occupies 450 acres of lakefront property just east of Downtown. In recent decades, its use has steadily declined.
On the campaign trail and during his tenure, Bibb has advocated for increasing resident access to the waterfront, particularly on the city’s East Side.