Top honour for Massey academic

JESSICA SUTTON
Last updated 12:00 15/05/2012
Massey graduates
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Massey graduates march from The Regent to The Sqaure.
Aviation
ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIRFAX NZ
Dr David Lyon is just the third person to receive an aviation school doctorate.

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A Massey University aviation lecturer and flying enthusiast has become just the third person to receive an aviation school doctorate.

Dr David Lyon and 221 other College of Business students graduated yesterday as part of this week's Massey University graduation ceremonies in Palmerston North.

About 1326 students are expected to be capped.

Dr Lyon has spent the past eight years working on his PhD thesis, which was about New Zealand's major airports and researching whether commercialising airports was successful.

He said it was the first time anyone had researched the country's airports.

Airports were commercialised in the late 1980s under the fourth Labour government.

"Put it this way, as an investor, I would definitely put my money into airports, not airlines," Dr Lyon said.

"Since they were established from the late 80s, airport companies have been increasingly profitable in real terms and, in 20 years of data, there have only been five times when one of the country's major airports has reported a negative annual result."

His research included Palmerston North International Airport, which he said had been successful.

Lack of international flights didn't mean this wouldn't happen in the future, he said.

Dr Lyon heads the business school at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and lectures within the Masters in Aviation course at Massey University.

He also holds an MBA, a postgraduate certificate in business research, and a teaching diploma.

His thesis subject came out of having a strong interest in aviation and business.

Both his parents were based at the Ohakea Air Force Base during World War II, and he also holds a commercial pilot's licence.

His mother Jean Lyon gained her private pilot's licence when she was in her 40s, and said she was "very very proud" of her son.

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- Manawatu Standard

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