Joe Houghton

Vice President – Training & Flight Operations Support, AIRBUS Americas

Joe Houghton joined Airbus as Vice President of Training and Flight Operations Support in 2013, bringing to the company over 30 years of civil and military aviation experience. Based at the Airbus Training Center in Miami, Joe is responsible for driving the business strategy that transformed Airbus training from a traditional support role to an operation that delivers revenue-generating services throughout multiple locations in the Americas. 

Prior to Airbus, Joe developed a deep background in Airline Certification, Training, Standards, and Safety Management Systems in a variety of management positions at several US airlines. Most recently, as Vice President of Flight Operations for Spirit Airlines, Joe oversaw the airline’s operations control, pilot group, dispatchers, schedulers, crew planning, flight training and regulatory compliance.

As one of the original founding officers of Virgin America, Joe was directly responsible for guiding the airline’s highly successful 14 CFR Part 121 certification efforts, which included manuals design, tabletop exercises, evacuation demonstration and proving runs. Joe held key leadership positions including Chief Pilot and Vice President of the Operations Control Center. Prior to his tenure at Virgin, Joe was heavily involved in operations at USAirways including roles in management as well as flying the line over 18 years of service. 

Joe is the founder of Locked On, Inc., a leading global airline certification and business improvement consultancy recognized by the FAA. Locked On has assisted in numerous successful airline certifications and been profitable every year since launched. Joe was also a key contributor to the creation of Afterburner Seminars, which has helped Fortune 500 companies to increase performance through flawless execution for more than 10 years.

Joe served 21 years with the Maryland Air National Guard, where he was the A-10 Squadron Commander. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Embry Riddle University and an Associate Degree in Aviation Management. He currently resides in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, with his wife Elizabeth.

Innovation and the Future of Training

With self-driving cars already becoming reality, are aircraft next? Can commercial aircraft borrow from what we have learned in other transportation disciplines and if so, does Airmanship have to take a back seat?

Joe Houghton, VP of Training and Flight Operations Support at Airbus, explores the crossroads between innovation and the future of training.