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Chris Jones

Global Air Board Elevates Clark County Aviation Boss

29 September 2005

LAS VEGAS – Southern Nevada's top aviation official has been given increased access to directors of some of the world's busiest airports and airlines, an advantage that could aid Las Vegas' continuing push to add more overseas air service.

Randall Walker, who has served as Clark County's aviation director since May 1997, was last week named to the North American executive board of Airports Council International, a Geneva, Switzerland-based trade group that promotes excellence in worldwide airport operations.

Since Jan. 1, Walker has also served on the council's world governing board, where he joins seven other North American airport chiefs on a 29-member panel, including representatives of George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston; Pittsburgh International; and Florida's Jacksonville International.

Gregory Moix Jr., assistant deputy airport director of San Francisco International, also serves as a board member representing the council's Pacific region, which includes executives from airports in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Walker said Wednesday his work with both boards will ensure others in the industry are aware of local aviation issues. It also allows Las Vegas to take a larger role in developing global aviation standards on issues such as security and information technology.

"It's very important from a national, international standpoint ... so that we can understand what might be affecting the viability of air travel to Las Vegas, not just out of Las Vegas," Walker said. "If you've got a system that doesn't work elsewhere, it reduces the probability that someone will get on a plane and come here."

By working with Walker's staff at McCarran International Airport, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has identified seven foreign nations from which it hopes to attract more visitors.

Las Vegas already benefits from strong overseas traffic from the United Kingdom and Japan, as well as regular visits from Canadian and Mexican travelers.

Still, Walker's work with the council sparks regular interaction with airport directors from Paris and Frankfurt, Germany. And he's not above lobbying them on the merits of new Las Vegas service from an Air France or Lufthansa.

"All of those contacts help," said Walker, who'll attend the council's semiannual world board meeting this November in New Zealand.