Dave was born in Burma in 1935, where he was one of 6 children and his family escaped from Burma during World War II, relocating to Northern India. Having lost his father at a young age, he became the patriarch of his family and took responsibility for the care of his siblings. In 1958, Vyas immigrated to England where he began his storied career in the airline industry with British Airways. In 1962, he came to New York City, where he worked full time for TWA. There, the airline took note of his work ethic and provided him a scholarship to Baruch College where he earned his MBA. In 1969, he married Suda Bala of Nairobi, Kenya in a traditional Hindu arrangement. They made a home in Forest Hills, Queens for two years before moving to Massapequa, Long Island to start their family.
Vyas was a luminary in the aviation transportation industry. A fixture at JFK Airport for over forty years, he ran the North American Cargo Operations for Sabena Airlines (now Brussels Airlines) before elevating to Director of North American Passenger Service and Operations at both Sabena and Swiss Air. You couldn’t walk with him through any terminal at the airport without being interrupted every few minutes by someone who wanted to say hello to him or thank him for the assistance he had provided. He was recognized as a creative problem solver & astute businessman, but most importantly a kindhearted professional, who was always willing to help those in need, in particular showing great empathy towards passengers in distress. He is also remembered by his former colleagues for his professionalism, unimpeachable integrity, and his well-tailored suits.
Vyas’ efforts in developing Sabena’s relationships in Africa earned him praise and recognition from the highest levels of government in Liberia and Rwanda, where he was a critical team member in the humanitarian relief effort during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. Back home, he fostered community and charity in the JFK community, through his leadership roles on the JFK Chamber of Commerce, Kennedy Airport Airlines Management Council (KAAMCO), and the JFK Rotary Club.
In addition to his wife of 52 years, Vyas Dev is survived by his daughter Ritu and his sons Rick and Rohin (both of whom served as U.S. Army officers).