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Middle Eastern Airlines Violations Threaten Open Skies


VP - Flying Operations & Chief Pilot
Delta Air Lines

GrahamCaptJimCapt. Jim Graham -- a 34-year Jacksonville resident -- is Vice President, Flying Operations and Chief Pilot at Delta Air Lines, Inc. He oversees Delta’s 14,250 line pilots and is responsible for the overall management and safe conduct of Delta’s 800+ aircraft and 3,200 daily flight operations to 306 destinations in 52 countries spanning six continents.

Delta Air Lines has a significant impact on Jacksonville's air service.

Operationally, his responsibilities include development, implementation and evaluation of all aircraft operating policies and procedures, aircraft flight deck equipage, world-wide navigational capability and ensuring qualified flight crew to conduct operations into any destination Delta chooses.

Capt. Graham is a primary liaison with aviation authorities around the world and specific to the US, he is the FAA Part 119 Chief Pilot, responsible for oversight and execution of Delta’s Qualifications and Standards program comprised of over 750 FAA designated Line Check Airmen.  This program includes all line flying qualifications, theater and special airport qualifications as well as new service and charter service. Administratively, in addition to the line pilot cadre, Captain Graham oversees the pilot hiring and outreach programs.

In the last 36 months, Delta has hired and trained over 3200 pilots and expects to hire an additional 1100 in 2018.

Captain Graham began his aviation career at the age of 14 flying sailplanes off a grass strip airport close to Orlando, Florida.  After progressing through the civilian aviation ranks including working as a flight instructor and charter pilot, in 1981 he entered service with the United States Navy as a Naval Aviator.  While in the Navy he primarily flew the P-3A, B, and C model Orion aircraft in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, maritime surveillance, and drug interdiction operations in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Caribbean and South American theaters.  He held positions of increasing responsibility including squadron NATOPS officer - responsible for all squadron pilot training and evaluations, instructor pilots, functional maintenance check pilots and plane commander qualifications. 

Upon leaving active duty, he joined The Regency Group headquartered in Jacksonville and also entered the Naval Reserve completing a twenty-year career and retiring as a Commander.  While at Regency he worked with the property management and development teams in the first two years and then moved to a part time contractor position in retailer services until 2002.

Captain Graham began his career with Delta in 1988 as a line pilot. Joining the Flight Operations leadership team at Delta in 1994, he qualified as a Second Officer Check Airman on the L-1011.  Shortly after upgrading to Captain in 1996, he qualified as a B-737 Line Check Pilot and in 1999 was promoted to B-737 Chief Line Check Pilot.  During this period, he was instrumental in development of “Delta Express”, a low cost carrier operation that eventually became Song Airlines.  Delta Express was the primary entry point for all new pilots and during the period from 1997-2001 his team successfully trained and qualified over 2700 pilots including 13 month new hire First Officer to Captain upgrades, a situation never before seen at Delta. 

In 2002, he was promoted to General Manager-Pilot Standards overseeing Delta’s entire standards program and took the lead as primary operational liaison with the FAA.  Between 2002 and 2004 he re-engineered the department and devised a plan to keep Delta’s wide-body aircraft fleets flying even under the pressure of 2100 pilot’s early retiring as Delta approached bankruptcy.  In 2005 he transitioned to Regional Director and Chief Pilot – Atlanta, the world’s largest pilot base with over 5200 pilots.  He was asked to help lead Delta’s emergence from bankruptcy and in 2006 he was promoted to Director – Flying Operations and Chief Pilot assuming administrative, operational and qualification and standards responsibilities for the entire pilot group. In 2008 he was promoted to his current position while simultaneously leading the team responsible for integrating all aspects of Flight Operations as Delta acquired Northwest Airlines to become the largest US airline. 

Captain Graham was tapped to orchestrate Flight Operations part in securing FAA validation required to bring both airlines onto a single operating certificate.  This SOC was attained in an unprecedented twelve months from start to finish.  Since that time, Captain Graham and the Flight Operations teams have continued to raise the bar on operational performance and ensure Delta’s position as the nation’s airline leader in both reliability and on-time performance.  In addition, Delta has continued to gain world prominence including entry into Africa and China and significant expansion in Latin and South America.  His teams have ensured safe, successful start-up and continued operational excellence in many challenging locations around the world allowing Delta to attain even more significant international presence.

He has been a Jacksonville resident since 1983 and currently lives in Ortega with his wife Shannon; they have three grown children.  He and is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and the US Navy Aviation School of Safety.


Programs & Events

February 19
Presidents' Day Observance

February 26
Clay Shoot
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March 5
How to Stop the Opioid Crisis
Center for a Healthy Mind and Wellbeing

March 12

March 19
Downtown Projects on the Books
Developer, Chase Properties

March 17
Rotary Leadership Institute
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Santa Fe Community College, Gainesville

March 26
Where Are We With Cuba?
Former Chief of Missions/Cuba
U.S. State Department

April 2
Easter Observance

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►Intv 3 - Pres-elect David Boree

►Intv 2 - F L "Buster" Hagenbeck

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