The Sussex County Council this week welcomed Robert Bryant as the new manager of the Delaware Coastal Airport.
The outgoing manager, Eric Littleton, who took over in October last year, left to return to NASA’s Wallop’s Flight Facility, where he had previously worked as unmanned aerial systems’ airfield manager at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.
Littleton replaced Jim Hickin, who left the role last October, after 12 years.
Bryant, whose first day on the job was Monday, July 27, managed the Salisbury Regional Airport for 23 years before leaving in December 2016 to accept a position with GCR Inc., a contractor with the Federal Aviation Administration.
He was hired by Sussex County after being selected from four candidates, County Administrator Todd Lawson told council members during their Tuesday, July 28, meeting.
“I’m very, very excited Bob Bryant will be our next airport manager,” Lawson said, explaining that Bryant’s aviation career spans four decades.
“He has been in the position, getting to know the personnel. He has worked with Jim Hicken, who returned temporarily during this transition. We are very excited to have someone of Bob’s caliber take over,” Lawson said.
“You are more than kind,” Bryant told council members.
“Mr. President and members of the council, my name is Bob Bryant and I am the new airport manager. I’m thrilled and I am excited and I am happy to be associated with the Sussex County airport,” he said.
“I bring to you 30 years in the field of airport management. My last 23 years were in the Salisbury Regional Airport, where we implemented over $60 million of capital improvements during that period,” including land acquisition and runway extension.
Councilman Samuel Wilson, who is set to retire, asked Bryant to work on extending the Sussex County runway, and Bryant said it is an item in the master plan.
He talked about runway improvements at the Salisbury airport from his first day on the job and they were finally completed years later, he said.
“Runway extension takes a lot of planning. They take a little bit of time, but they can be done,” he said.
The annual salary for airport manager is $80,000. Bryant’s salary when he left Wicomico County was $90,299. At the time, Wicomico County advertised the position at an annual salary of $56,657 to $80,000.