Joseph “Joe” Messina is a Partner at WhiteBird, PLLC, practicing aviation law. Joe has an extensive history in the aviation industry, including serving as the Senior Advisor to the Executive Team for the City of Philadelphia Division of Aviation, which owns and operates Philadelphia International Airport and Northeast Philadelphia Airport. He also served as the airport’s Integrity Officer and the Right to Know Officer. In these roles, Joe was responsible for the Airport Advisory Board, general safety, and local government affairs, and he was also the liaison with the City of Philadelphia Law Department and risk management divisions, including relations with neighboring jurisdictions and strategic initiatives.

Previously, Joe was appointed Deputy Director of Aviation for Regulatory Affairs and served as Acting Chief Administrative Officer. In these roles, he was responsible for federal and state regulatory issues and compliance, enterprise risk management, safety, air cargo development, air service development, communications, liaison with risk management and the law department, relations with neighboring jurisdictions, and strategic initiatives. Joe also served as General Counsel to Philadelphia International for 18 years.

With unwavering dedication and an extensive knowledge base, Joe navigates the complexities of aviation law, shaping and influencing the industry while earning the respect of peers and clients. His impressive history of committed service in the aviation field makes him a noteworthy presence in the industry. His length of service and focus in this sector sets him apart as a prominent player. In 2015, his service was recognized when he was honored with the Joseph I. Mulligan, Jr. Distinguished Public Service Award by the International Municipal Lawyers Association, a testament to his significant contributions.

Joe hails from the great state of Pennsylvania and is an avid fan of all Philadelphia sports.

  • Joseph I. Mulligan, Jr. Distinguished Public Service Award, International Municipal Lawyers Association, 2015

  • “Emerging trends in airport-airline use and lease agreements in the USA” with Eric Smith, Journal of Airport Management, Summer 2016
  • “Successfully Dealing with the IRS,” Teaching Manual for Continuing Education for Certified Public Accountants, Center for Professional Education, 1991-2012
  • “Tax Aspects of Bankruptcy,” Teaching Manual for Continuing Education for Certified Public Accountants, Center for Professional Education, 1991-2012

  • ACI Legal Conference-Moderate Litigation Update, 2009-2023
  • “Bankruptcy Law, What Airport Lawyers Need to Know,” Panel Member, ACI-NA Legal Affairs Committee, 2020
  • “Litigation Update,” Webex CLE, Moderator, ACI-NA Legal Affairs Committee, 2020
  • Presentation to airport business users group, 2019 Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, CEO Council for Growth, 2019
  • “A Brief Bankruptcy Refresher,” ACI Legal Affairs Spring Conference, May 2019
  • “Ground Access: Rules of the Road (and Rail),” ACI Legal Committee Workshop, September 2018
  • PHLCVB Global Tourism Update, 2015-2018
  • Press conference to international media for Philadelphia International Airport, IPW US Travel, London, England 2015-2018
  • “Basics of Airport Law- Airport/Airline Use and Lease Agreements,” 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018

  • Philadelphia International Airport, Senior Advisor to the Executive Team (2019-2023)
  • Philadelphia International Airport, Integrity Officer (2017-2023)
  • Philadelphia International Airport, Right to Know Officer (2020-2023)
  • General Counsel, Philadelphia International Airport, City of Philadelphia Law Department (1998-2016)
  • Partner in the Tax Department of mid-size law firms in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1979-1998)
  • Rutgers University School of Law, Lecturer in Law (1987-1989) Courses taught Accounting for Lawyers, Partnership Tax
  • Rutgers University, Faculty of Business Studies, Assistant Professor (1981-1986) Courses taught: Federal Income Tax I and II; Business Law I and II; Federal Income Tax Preparation; The Legal Environment of Management (MBA Program)