Aspen airport director Kinney to retire after six years in role

Staff reports
John Kinney, the Pitkin County airport director, answers Michael Miracle's questions about the new airport concepts at the open public meeting Thursday at the Pitkin County Library.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

After six years as the director of the Aspen airport, John Kinney announced Thursday afternoon he is retiring effective Aug. 10.

Kinney was hired in November 2014 and has helped lead the proposed changes at the Pitkin County/Aspen Airport as part of the ASE Vision Process, which includes a new terminal and safety improvements.

Kinney replaced Jim Elwood, who spent 13 years at the Aspen airport before leaving for a job at the Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming. Kinney previoulsy was the director of emergency management for Los Angeles World Airports.

“I love this airport and this community, my wife and family will continue to call this home and live here in the valley, and I am proud of the work we have done here,” Kinney said in the news release. “We have accomplished a great deal and at the same time lowered operational costs and provided opportunities for an outstanding staff to excel in their respective careers.”

In April after more than 140 hours of public meetings over a roughly 15-month period, the community-led Airport Vision Committee tasked with creating a guide for future improvements handed over its final recommendations to Pitkin County commissioners.

The 21-person vision committee moved to approve its “common ground recommendations” in a nearly unanimous vote in March. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, county commissioners are uncertain on when they’ll be able to hold an in-person, public forum on the proposed airport improvement plans, they said in April.

Kinney will remain on as a consultant for three months after his retirement to ensure a smooth transition of airport projects and operations, according to a news release from Pitkin County.

“John’s deep knowledge of the aviation industry and ability to partner with commercial airlines, the general aviation community, and the community at large will be missed,” county manager Jon Peacock said. “John has brought on a strong team at the airport and we look forward to a smooth transition.”


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