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Akron-Canton Airport's New CEO Looking Ahead to Gate Expansions, New Capital Improvement Plan

photo of Ren Camacho
Akron-Canton Airport CEO Ren Camacho plans to spend this year gathering data to find out how the airport can better serve leisure and business travelers.

Akron-Canton Airport’s new CEO – Ren Camacho – is officially on his own.  He spent the last three months working with longtime CEO Rick McQueen, who retired at the end of the year.

Camacho says his goal for the second-largest airport in Northeast Ohio is to find out how it can better serve business and leisure travelers in the shadow of his previous employer, Cleveland Hopkins airport.

New destinations
The new head of Akron-Canton says legislators and business leaders have expressed interest in adding destinations in Texas, as well as Minneapolis and Boston. Leisure travelers have asked for more service to Florida and Las Vegas. This year, the airport plans to conduct a survey of companies to learn more about which markets they may want to consider adding at Akron-Canton.

Camacho is also looking ahead to 2021 and the completion of the final piece of the airport’s 10-year plan: a $34 million gate modernization project. Camacho says the expanded area and added amenities will allow them to serve more travelers. And he says they’re already planning to announce more changes, early this spring.

“We will be establishing a five-year capital improvement plan, basically. It’s seamless with what the master plan entails, it’s very in tune with that.”

Looking to the future
Camacho adds it will also be a flexible plan that can accommodate changes in traffic as things like the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village project come to fruition, or Akron adds residents as the city is expecting. And there is also a marketing push planned for this year.

“What fares Hopkins or Pittsburgh or Columbus are charging, and to say, ‘hey we offer competitive fares. We may charge $30 or $40 more, but because of that customer service factor – because of the convenience of getting from the car to the gate -- we believe we’re a better alternative.’ Not only serving the Akron-Canton community, but Northeast Ohio in general.”

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.