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Fresno Announces New Aviation Director

Wed Apr 28, 2004 2:30 am

The City of Fresno has hired Russ Widmar as the new Director of Aviation. He was most recently Aviation Director in Kansas City and prior to that was in charge at SLC. In Fresno he will oversee both FAT and FCH (Fresno-Chandler Downtown Airport which was the area's original commercial airport and now serves only GA).

In Fresno he will immediately face several issues including:

  • A $1 million grant to attract new LCC service that has gone unused

  • Ongoing community complaints about low levels of service and high fares

  • Potential Mexicana service. This has revived fears from local agricultural interests who are concerned about the importation of insects or disease that could damage the area's $7,000,000,000 ag industry. Many still remember things like the Medfly invasion in Southern California in the 1970s and fear a similiar occurance could destroy their business or limit/prohibit exports.

  • Completion of an 80 acre Air Cargo Park to replace the current inadequate areas. Plans should be complete for a new cargo area for existing and new operations. Next will be getting funding and starting construction.

  • Planning for expansion of the terminal ticketing, baggage, and security areas. Now that the concourse expansion is complete, the airport is preparing plans for additional terminal expansion to meet both passenger growth demands and new security requirements.

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