Pitt Meadows Regional Airport has a new manager who brings impressive credentials to the post, said Mayor John Becker.
George Miller is a veteran pilot who served 35 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force, beginning at the age of 18. He reached the rank of colonel, became the second leader of the storied Snowbirds air demonstration squadron in 1973, and was a base commander.
He was also the Langley Regional Airport manager beginning in 1990, and is the current leader of the Fraser Blues aerobatic team. The Blues are known for Remembrance Day fly-pasts in the Fraser Valley. They did eight last Nov. 11.
Miller was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame in 2015 and was awarded the prestigious Belt of Orion award for his contributions to his industry.
“His tenure as manager of the Langley Regional Airport was instrumental in establishing a significant commercial and recreational operational core at YNJ,” says the Canadian Museum of Flight in its entry about Miller.
Miller explained he oversaw the Pitt airport on a part-time basis during the mid 1990s, at the same time as he was running the Langley operation. He had to give up the Pitt Meadows post, though, after less than a year to focus on his Langley job.
He said Pitt is a “fabulous airport” with great potential.
“It hasn’t gone the distance it should have gone.”
Miller is not talking about commuter airlines. He wants to focus on pilot training, waterfront business opportunities, a restaurant, car rentals and more. There is a long list of businesses at the Langley airport compared to Pitt Meadows.
“We want the kind of activity that is going to exist here without being an irritant to the community,” Miller added.
He plans to stay about six months on the job, then resume his role as an aviation consultant. He will begin the search for his replacement almost immediately.
“My intent is to leave a first class airport manager here.”
“George’s appointment to the airport manager position brings a welcome breath of aviation experience and passion for general aviation and the community that surrounds it,” said an online posting by the B.C. General Aviation Association.
“It is a positive step to have someone leading the airport that has a vested interest in the success of general aviation and a working knowledge of the various facets the surround the running of a successful airport and leading a successful team, which he has demonstrated throughout his illustrious aviation career.”
In 2013, Miller moved to a consulting capacity at Langley airport as his son Guy took over as manager.
Miller replaces outgoing manager Elvio Pecchia, who has served as the GM and CAO at YPK since he was hired in 2014. He stopped working for the Pitt Meadows Airport Society recently, and Miller was hired on Feb. 2.
“I would like to thank him for his years of service during occasionally very difficult times,” said Becker, noting there were conflicts between the airport and its neighbours, which the mayor said were created by a lack of leadership from the two municipalities that partner in operating the facility – Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.