Need assistance?

SJC Airport Director Honored Among Silicon Valley’s Power 100

February 7, 2023

SJC Media Relations | +1 (408) 392-1199 |

SJC Airport Director Honored Among Silicon Valley’s Power 100

John Aitken part of first cohort of Silicon Valley’s elite leadership

John Aitken


San José, Calif. — San José Mineta International Airport (SJC) congratulates its Director of Aviation, John Aitken, for his inclusion in the first Silicon Valley Power 100, a list of Silicon Valley’s most powerful influencers and change agents. The inaugural honorees were selected by the editorial staff of Silicon Valley Business Journal, which selected individuals they defined as the “ones whose words cause ripples on Wall Street and whose decisions affect tens of thousands.”

Honorees in the inaugural list were chosen based on nominations meeting the following criteria:

  • Influencers who are either redefining what Silicon Valley is all about or improving what's already working well in the region.
  • Leaders that are adeptly navigating their companies and organizations through challenges and capitalizing on emerging opportunities.
  • Visionaries who have unique insights about the future and are motivating others to follow them.
  • Game changers, people who 10 or 20 years from now we'll say, "they changed history."

The list places Aitken among Silicon Valley’s elite leaders, including CEOs of the three biggest companies in Silicon Valley — Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc.

“Congratulations to John Aitken, under whose leadership San José Mineta International Airport became the nation’s fastest growing airport and received global recognition for safety and use of technology,” said San José Mayor Matt Mahan. “It is great to work with a leader who combines deep technical expertise with a dogged commitment to quality service for the more than 11 million passengers served by SJC each year.”

Of his role at SJC, Aitken says that he is inspired by “the spirit of creativity and innovation here at the airport, at City Hall and in our Silicon Valley," leading a team of over 200 staff that he calls “dedicated, creative, and forward-thinking employees.” He will celebrate 30 years at SJC this year and has served as Airport Director since 2017.

Aitken led the Airport’s 2001 name change in honor of former San José Mayor, Norman Y. Mineta, as its namesake. Mineta’s actions after 9/11 as US Transportation Secretary cemented the country’s current Aviation safety infrastructure and established the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Aitken’s leadership also drove SJC’s rise to distinction as the fastest-growing airport in the country prior to COVID. The Airport emerged from the pandemic distinguished as the first US Airport to receive accreditation by the Global Bio-risk Advisory Council (GBAC) for its commitment to the highest levels of safety and cleanliness.

Aitken and his tenure are also known to have pushed SJC to become a beacon for Airport innovation. The Airport was the first in the US to introduce therapy animals in its terminals after 9/11, and regularly infuses technology with Customer Service, listing examples such as automated wheelchairs and special in-terminal services for travelers with disabilities, installation of new technologies such as self-sanitizing escalator handrails during COVID, and last year being named Alaska Airlines’ innovation hub.

Aitken is an instrument-rated commercial pilot and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida Institute of Technology in Aviation Management and MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Aviation Management. He is an Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E.) and is a Board Member of Joint Venture Silicon Valley. Aitken’s nomination highlighted his leadership through devastating pandemic travel disruptions and his efforts to grow the airport’s size, including the addition of temporary gates near Terminal B, aimed at becoming permanent gates in a new terminal. He is also credited with the recent rebranding of the Airport, which is the main aerial gateway to Silicon Valley. SJC is a self-supporting department of the City of San José and is not funded by taxpayer dollars.

About San José Mineta International Airport (SJC): Fly Simple 
Fueled by a culture of innovation, San José Mineta International Airport (SJC) is the Bay Area's easiest and most dependable airport due to its medium size, simple layout, temperate climate, and inland location. Just minutes from downtown San José, SJC is a convenient gateway to Northern California and the Silicon Valley region, providing nonstop service across North America and to Europe and Asia. SJC is a self‐supporting enterprise owned and operated by the City of San José. For more airport information, visit Connect with SJC on social media at

- SJC -