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Jim Howes (1945-2021): Former airport general manager dies in Florida

Jim Howes (File photograph)

A former general manager at the airport who helped bring flights back to the island during a bleak era for Bermuda’s air travel has died.

Jim Howes told The Royal Gazette in 2007 when he retired after five years on the job: “I didn’t just want to draw a pay cheque.

“I wanted a challenge where I could make my mark.”

Mr Howes, who was born in Baltimore, spent much of his life in aviation but had a fascination with model trains.

He graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor of science degree in transportation.

Mr Howes served in the US Air Force from 1969 to 1972 as a traffic management officer at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri

He was also a Boy Scout leader, a pipe organist, radio host and editor for the online database Wikipedia.

Before coming to Bermuda in 2002, Mr Howes built the roster of flights for the St Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport in Florida, where he started working in 1980, before he came to Bermuda in 2002.

Flights to Bermuda had dwindled to fewer than 100 a week at the time.

Competition and a changing industry, as well as the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the US had slashed services to and from Bermuda.

But Mr Howes threw himself behind a new air service strategy that gradually showed results.

Air service had risen 20 per cent over the previous year by 2004, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

One of his successes came from a charm offensive aimed at low-cost carriers.

Mr Howes confronted other challenges: in 2003 – Hurricane Fabian inflicted $15 million worth of damage to the airport.

He said at the time: “It was unbelievable. It looked like a bomb had gone off.”

Aaron Adderley took his place after Mr Howes stepped down and retired to Florida, where he became a host on Christian radio station Spirit 90.5FM.

Mr Howes spoke warmly of the island’s beauty and spoke with pride of his accomplishments in Bermuda.

He told the Gazette when he retired: “I leave with the feeling I have had some part in the successes we have enjoyed here in that five years.

“I leave it a better place than I found it found it five years ago.”

His show Sacred Classics, which he hosted for 35 years, was broadcast around the world. The final episode aired last weekend.

• James Guerdon Howes, a former general manager at L.F. Wade International Airport, was born on November 14, 1945. He died on September 14, 2021, aged 75.

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Published September 29, 2021 at 7:41 am (Updated September 29, 2021 at 7:41 am)

Jim Howes (1945-2021): Former airport general manager dies in Florida

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