Cleveland Hopkins International Airport entrance
Starting Jan. 1, Cleveland will collect a 10% fee on the money made by companies offering peer-to-peer vehicle sharing services at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Credit: Jeff Haynes / Signal Cleveland

Cleveland’s airports will be getting a new leader after going nine months without a permanent director. 

Mayor Justin Bibb on Monday announced he’s hiring Bryant L. Francis as the city’s director of port control, a position that oversees Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport and Burke Lakefront Airport. 

Francis has served since 2016 as the aviation director at the Port of Oakland. He has also run airports in Long Beach, Calif., and Shreveport, La. He takes the controls at Cleveland-Hopkins just as the airport begins a major overhaul of its terminal and concourses as part of an existing master plan that could cost $2 billion. 

“I am delighted that we are bringing Bryant to Cleveland at this pivotal time for our airport system,” Bibb said in a news release. “He is a leader that we know can hit the ground running and jump start our $2 billion, 20-year master plan to transform Cleveland Hopkins into a world-class airport for our city and the region.” 

Cleveland’s previous airports director, Robert Kennedy, announced his resignation a year ago and retired in July 2022. Dennis Kramer, the airport’s director of planning and engineering, took over as interim director after Kennedy left. 

Francis will begin work on May 24, according to the city. 

“I am thrilled to be selected to lead the team in Cleveland and I look forward to getting started on this new chapter of my career,” Francis said in the news release. “This is the jumping off point of a real transformation at Cleveland Hopkins and I am excited to lend my experience to shaping and stewarding such a landmark project.” 

Meanwhile, the future of Cleveland’s smaller city-owned airport is in the air. 

The Bibb administration is also evaluating the economic impact of Burke Lakefront Airport, which serves private business travelers and acts as a reliever for Cleveland-Hopkins. The study will examine the impact of closing the small airport that occupies prime downtown real estate on the Lake Erie shoreline, according to the city. 

Government Reporter (he/him)
Nick joins us from the world of public radio. He has more than a decade experience covering politics and government in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. In 2021, he produced and hosted "After Jackson: Cleveland's Next Mayor," an Ideastream Public Media podcast on the Cleveland mayoral race. He has also covered breaking news, opioid lawsuits and elections nationally for NPR.