Airport Manager Takes Flight |

Airport Manager Takes Flight

Lake Tahoe Airport is losing Airport Manager Rick Jenkins on Nov. 14.

“I got an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Jenkins said of his new position.

Jenkins, who only served in Lake Tahoe for one year but was instrumental in bringing Allegiant Air back to the airport, is heading to San Diego to be airport director for San Diego County, a position that manages eight airports.

The decision to leave Tahoe, however, was not an easy one for Jenkins.

“I’m torn between my dedication to this airport and this other challenge,” he said.

Jenkins has been an airport manager for 12 years in the U.S. Navy and Marines and in San Diego County, where he managed three airports. In his new position Jenkins will be doing the job of his former boss.

His scheduled departure will be met with a search for a new airport manager, who will be chosen by City Manager David Childs.

If a replacement is not found by Nov. 14, it will not be the first time the airport has been without an official manager.

For 3 1/2 years – 1996-99 – Airport Management Assistant Janice Brand acted as interim airport manager.

“I don’t think it is going to be a problem, but we’re going to miss him,” Brand said.

Jenkins said that the city will need to find someone who is excited about the position and able to work with all the various regulatory agencies that are distinct to Lake Tahoe.

“Rick has done a great job,” Brand said. “It is not often you can get someone who has been there such a short time to learn all the nuances in Lake Tahoe.”

Jenkins views the future of the airport as a positive one.

“I think we’re on the right course here, and we’ve got things pretty well mapped out,” he said.

But just because Jenkins is taking off doesn’t mean that he is finished fighting for the Lake Tahoe Airport.

Jenkins and Mayor Tom Davis are scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C., the week of Oct. 30 to meet with Jane Garvey, administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The meeting is to work out a deal between Lake Tahoe Airport and the FAA, which will provide a percentage of funding for air traffic controllers.

Lake Tahoe has already been accepted into the FAA program, but Jenkins and Davis will try and work out a more favorable deal, and one that the city can afford, Davis said.

In the meantime, Davis and Jenkins will try to get an extension of funding for weather observers so the city can continue to subsidize the cost for air traffic controllers. The FAA is scheduled to cut funding at the end of October in favor of a computerized weather device. But city officials are hoping for a six-month extension until permanent air traffic controller funding can be worked out.

“I’m optimistic about this airport,” Jenkins said. “If we can get this revenue stream up and increase it, particularly our commercial service, I think this airport has a tremendous future.”

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