Fresno, Calif., Hires new manager for city’s airport operations

A United Express flight operated by Utah-based SkyWest Airlines is taxiing on the taxiway at Fresno Yosemite International Airport in this file photo from Fresno Bee.

A United Express flight operated by Utah-based SkyWest Airlines is taxiing on the taxiway at Fresno Yosemite International Airport in this file photo from Fresno Bee.

Fresno Bee File

A new director of aviation for the city of Fresno has been appointed to oversee operations at Fresno-Yosemite International Airport and Chandler Executive Airport following the recent retirement of Kevin Meikle.

Henry L. Thompson, who is currently director of Santa Barbara Airport, will begin his new job in Fresno on Monday. His appointment was announced Tuesday by Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer. The hiring follows a nationwide search that began when Meikle announced his retirement earlier this year.

Thompson has worked the past three years as Head of the Santa Barbara Airport, and previously spent three years as an Airports Manager at Shreveport, Louisiana, according to his LinkedIn profile. His aviation experience spans over 35 years and includes stints in various operations and safety positions at San Francisco International Airport and Mineta San José International Airport.

“I am very honored and honored to join the Fresno team as the new Director of Aviation,” Thompson said in a statement issued by city communications staff. “This is a critical time of growth and recovery, and I look forward to contributing to the good work started by the airport team. “

Thompson’s arrival comes amid a flurry of projects at Fresno Yosemite International Airport as passenger travel recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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A United Express flight operated by Utah-based SkyWest Airlines is taxiing on the taxiway at Fresno Yosemite International Airport. JEAN WALKER Fresno Bee File

A new $ 29 million parking lot adding nearly 700 parking spaces at the airport recently opened. Plans are also underway for a $ 115 million expansion at the airport that will include the addition of an upper level hall with two new doors and jet decks that can be used for domestic and international flights; expansion of the arrival and customs area for international passengers; extension of the baggage handling and sorting area for outbound flights; and increasing the number of Transportation Security Administration screening lanes.

“Henry is the right man for this job and brings a wealth of experience to Fresno,” Dyer said in a statement announcing the hiring. “His vision and goals of developing Fresno airports and expanding air service are perfectly aligned with our needs.”

“As we study the expansion plans for the Fresno Yosemite International terminal, (Thompson’s) education, training, experience and referrals are exactly what we need for the future,” Dyer added. .

Thompson’s predecessor, Meikle, spent a 32-year career in the city of Fresno, including the last nine years as Director of Aviation.

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Passengers line up to go through the TSA security checkpoint at Fresno Yosemite International Airport on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. Air travel has resumed in recent months and has even exceeded pre-pandemic levels. at the airport. CRAIG KOHLRUSS [email protected]

Lifelong Valley resident Tim Sheehan has worked as a reporter and editor in the area since 1986 and has worked for The Fresno Bee since 1998. He is currently The Bee’s data reporter and also covers the bullet train project in California and other transportation issues. He grew up in Madera, holds a journalism degree from Fresno State and an MA in Leadership Studies from Fresno Pacific University.
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