NFTA Transporter

Friday, May 25, 2018

Congratulations to William R. Vanecek, Inductee of the Niagara Frontier Aviation and Space Hall of Fame



William R. Vanecek, Director of Aviation for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, was flying high on Friday night at the 33rd Annual Dinner and Induction of the Aviation and Space Hall of Fame Ceremony as one of the inductees for this year.

May 11, was the annual ceremony recognizing individuals who have made a significant contribution to aviation and aerospace on the Niagara Frontier since its beginning in 1985.

Mr. William R. Vanecek, also known as Bill, is responsible for the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and the Niagara Falls International Airport.

Since his start in 1998, Mr. Vanecek has implemented and completed the FAA Noise Study for homes and businesses surrounding the BNIA that provided noise mitigation improvements to more than 1,400 properties to improve the quality of life within the airport community.

He also oversaw three major expansions of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Those expansions included a two-gate expansion in 1997, a seven-gate expansion in 2000, and a terminal expansion project for passengers and baggage in 2007. At this same time, he extended both runways at BNIA to the maximum length possible to accommodate both long haul domestic and international flights.

The BNIA expanded air carriers such as JetBlue Airlines and Southwest Airlines, which began service in 2002.

Besides the improvements at the BNIA, Bill orchestrated construction of a new passenger terminal at the NFIA. Additional improvements at the Niagara Falls International Airport were made to enhance viability of attracting commercial air service to Niagara Falls. The airport also saw the extension of the main and crosswind runways to the maximum length accommodating the needs of the USAF 914th Reserve station and for long haul international and domestic commercial flights.

Bill recruited Direct Air to serve Niagara Falls in 2007, Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Airlines were added and began operations in 2011.

During his tenure, more than $90 million of capital investments have occurred at the BNIA.

To say his career has “really taken flight” is an understatement. During Bill’s tenure the annual economic impact for Western New York resulted with the successes from both airports totaling more than $1.1 billion annually.

Among Bill’s other accomplishments: Served as President of the New York Aviation Management Association from 2006 to 2008. Bill was also awarded ‘Visit Buffalo Niagara’ Beacon Award for Tourism Executive of the year in 2013.

He has served as Chairman of Airports Council International North America (2016 – 2017).

Also inducted that evening were the following individuals:

Dr. Michael G. Dunn, Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory (CAL) Calspan

Harry A. Ferullo, Bell Aircraft/Bell Aerospace Company

Dr. H. Robert Leland, Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory (CAL) Calspan (Deceased 2002)

Mel Ryder, Moog, Inc.

John A. Spina, Eastman Kodak Company