Longtime Airport and State Aviation Official, Michael Klein Passes Away    

Michael Klein, A.A.E., a longtime airport executive, commercial pilot and most recently the manager of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), Aeronuatics Group, passed away last week.  

Michael Klein

Klein worked on national aviation issues by serving as the Chairman of the AAAE General Aviation National Committee and as a member of the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) Policy group of AAAE. He was also very involved with the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), chairing the Land Use Committee and serving as Regional Director for the Western-Pacific Region. He was elected to serve on the NASAO Board as Secretary in September of 2016.

Klein capped a distinguished aviation career by investing more than 16 years with ADOT, administering the Airport Development Program and later leading what became ADOT’s Aeronautics Group. “Mike and I had a long professional friendship,” said Barclay Dick, a retired Tucson Airport Authority executive, who also served as an ADOT Aeronautics Director. “During my tenure with ADOT, Mike was a pillar upon which I often leaned heavily. His support was always steady. He was a good friend and a strong advocate for airports and aviation.”

At ADOT, Klein’s responsibilities included the 5-Year Capital Improvement Program (ACIP), State-wide planning projects, the Airport Loan Program, and the Arizona Pavement Preservation Program. Prior to joining the Division, Klein served as the Executive Director of the Sioux Gateway Airport in Sioux City, Iowa. After graduating from Arizona State University in 1973 he was an airport planning and development consultant for eleven years and subsequently managed airports in Sierra Vista, Arizona, Tweed-New Haven, Connecticut and in Prescott, Arizona.

Mike Klein during an AzAA meeting in Phoenix.

“I worked with Mike [at ADOT] for nine years, said Kenn Potts, an airport industry veteran. “He was a very strong advocate for aviation in Arizona. He was always fighting to increase funding for airports. Many people do not realize how much impact his work had on airport funding in the state. He did not get the credit he deserved for his work.”

Potts said they spent time together outside of work, including riding motorcycles. “Several times we rode our motorcycles to airport conferences,” said Potts.

Barclay Dick seemed to sum it up best for everyone when he said, “goodbye my friend, you’ll be missed.”