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Special Edition: COVID-19- The Pandemic’s Impact on TYS and the Aviation Industry

Episode Description

Over the course of two months, daily operations in the aviation industry quickly ground to a halt due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The effects were felt in airports around the globe. In this episode, we discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on McGhee Tyson Airport as well as other US airports from the perspective of industry experts. 

Guests in this Episode

In this episode, we are joined by Patrick Wilson, President of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority (MKAA); Trevis Gardner, MKAA Vice President of Operations; and Gwen Basaria, Vice President of Member Experience for the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE).


Patrick Wilson AAEPatrick Wilson, A.A.E., is president of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority (MKAA), which owns and operates both McGhee Tyson and Downtown Island Airports in Knoxville, TN. In his role, Wilson leads a team of employees whose primary focus is to provide East Tennessee pilots and travelers with a safe, convenient and affordable air travel experience. As a leader in aviation for over 27 years, Wilson is an expert at promoting positive relationships with all airport, airline, government and community leaders. 



Trevis Gardner, Vice President of Operations, has been with MKAA for 29 years. Gardner is directly responsible for an operations and maintenance organization division of nearly 100 staff members, and also serves in a leadership role as a senior organization officer as Chief Information Officer and Chief Personnel Officer. Trevis has even served multiple terms in local elected office as member and chairman of the Blount County Board of Education. 



As AAAE’s Vice President of Member Experience and the AAAE Foundation, Gwen does more than just delight members (though that’s in her job description!).  Gwen passionately serves as chief member advocate at AAAE; identifying their priorities, developing new benefits and services to meet those needs, and elevating member service standards and satisfaction metrics across the association. She also manages the day-to-day operations of the AAAE Foundation, which has awarded over 3,000 scholarships totaling more than $5 million since 1989.

(Credit for bios and photos: MKAA  and AAAE)

Mentioned in this Episode
  • TYS is open and operating essential fights that are crucial to the success of our nation.
  • Now more than ever, TYS air cargo is playing an important role in providing supplies to those at home and in the medical field in our region.
  • CARES Act – Airports
  • Timeline of historic events that have impacted the aviation industry:
    • 2001 –> 9/11, 2003 –> SARS, 2008 –> Recession, 2020 –> COVID-19
  • The average number of daily passengers has significantly decreased at TYS. The normal average of passengers per day is 4500, but we are currently seeing just 200 passengers per day. 
  • TYS hosts two Maintenance and Repair Organizations (MRO), Endeavor Air Maintenance and Express Jet Maintenance, that thoroughly inspect aircraft and perform maintenance on aircraft. Having these two MROs is another great reason that airlines are choosing to park their aircraft at TYS.

Music in this Episode

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