Craig Richmond is YVR's new CEO

It's now fair to say that Richmond is truly a part of the Vancouver International Airport.

On Tuesday morning, after weeks of industry speculation about the successor to retired airport CEO and president Larry Berg, Craig Richmond was named to the top position.

"Now, the secret is out, I don't have to keep it quiet anymore, and I can meet the employees," Richmond said following the announcement in front of hundreds of people including airport workers, volunteers, politicians and city stakeholders.

Richmond revealed he'd been given the news about his "dream job" a few weeks ago, and since that time, has kept it hush hush.

If Craig Richmond's name sounds familiar, that's because he spent more than 11 years at YVR in various operational roles, including manager of airside operations and vice president of operations.

Richmond joined Vantage Airport Group in 2006, sharing his management and operational expertise with airports around the world.

In January, he was named CEO of Hermes Airports, heading up Larnaka International and Pafos International airports in Cyprus.

During a video that he narrated, Richmond said while others wanted to be a rock star, fireman, doctor or next internet billionaire when they were young, all he ever wanted was to be around planes.

Born in Vancouver, he was raised in Kamloops, and his first job was pumping gas at the Kamloops Aiport.

After high school, he joined the Canadian Air Force, and studied to fly jets, graduating to fighters at the age of 20, piloting F-15 Starfighters and F-18 Hornets.

He is married and has two children.

"I learned to fly planes before I learned how to drive a car. In fact, I got my pilot's licence before I got my driver's licence, a source of some amusement for my family," Richmond said during the video.

Before taking over the reins at YVR on July 2, Richmond will be returning to Cyprus to bring his replacement up to speed.

"I really believe in two things: I believe in getting out there and being with people when they're doing their jobs so you can really understand what it is they're going through. And also I'm a huge believer in team work."

A big focus for the airport in the years to come will be Asia, where over the course of the coming years, some 750 million more citizens will join the middle-class, he said.

"What do middle class people do? They travel. So we need to capture some of that market, because if we don't capture it, we'll lose it forever. If you don't get airlines used to flying in, they get used to flying to other airports and we can't let that happen," Richmond said.

Asked about the increasing number of Canadians who travel out of airports in the U.S. because of significant cost savings, Richmond said he's planning to commission a study that will quantify the extent of the "leakage".

On accountability and transparency, Richmond said: "We believe what's in the best interests of the airport is very often in the best interests of the people of British Columbia. Clearly we want to have really good relationships with our communities, and I don't like to hear that we've been butting heads. We would like to work with people. And I have a lot of experience doing different jurisdictions with all kinds of different political parties. So I'm very hopeful we can repair any problems that might have occurred."

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