The airport is officially open.
As the worldwide coronavirus crisis rages on, San Diego's tourist economy has cratered, bringing down with it a small army of maids, bartenders, drivers, and service workers cast out of their jobs for an indefinite duration.
Like most other public agencies, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority board shuttered its office to the public beginning March 18, according to the agency's online coronavirus page.
San Diego's tourist economy has cratered.
A March 27 board workshop has been cancelled, as has the airport authority's April 2 monthly board meeting. Future plans haven't been announced regarding any possible budget adjustments in light of plunging revenues.
The most recent news release posted online, dated March 10, touts a leadership award from an outfit called the Climate Leadership Conference.
"We couldn’t help but notice that at 6:30 a.m., when many of the day’s flights are taking place, the curbs in front of the terminals had only a few vehicles at any one time," noted KUSI's Ed Lenderman in a March 12 TV report.
"No two-deep cars with other drivers waiting for someone to pull out."
But despite a dramatic traffic falloff, the airport is officially open, which means continuing super-size government salaries and benefits for higher-ups, despite economic misery elsewhere.
"San Diego International Airport is essential to the nation, helping to bring home family and friends, transporting critical medicines and supporting commerce and tourism for our region," proclaims the authority's website.
"The airport remains open, in full operation as an essential critical infrastructure in the transportation systems sector."
Executive employment at the airport, which makes millions of dollars annually from landing fees and other charges, has long been a local bureaucratic plum.
President and CEO Kimberly Becker pulled down pay and benefits totaling $400,756 in 2018, the latest year for which figures posted by the website TransparentCalifornia.com are available.
Becker was to have been honored March 20 at the national Women in Tourism and Hospital convention at the Double Tree by Hilton in Mission Valley, but the event was called off without refunds.
"As we continue to work out the details of rescheduling our program with the hotel, the majority of the funds that are required to execute this kind of a conference have already been spent," says the sponsor's website.
"The hotel will allow expended monies to be credited but not refunded. Therefore, we are not able to extend refunds, but will apply all registration fees to be extended as credit for the re-scheduled conference."
Not far behind Becker in airport pay was general counsel Amy Gonzalez, a former deputy city attorney in Los Angeles, with $348,134.
Then came vice president and chief operating officer Angela Shafer-Payne, getting $347,954.
Once treasurer of fraud-tainted Peregrine Systems – where ex-Padres owner John Moores was chairman of the board – Scott Brickner, now the airport's vice president, treasurer, and chief financial operator, received $334.952.
"In 2000, Mr. Brickner joined Peregrine Systems in San Diego, becoming Treasurer in 2002 and playing an integral role in the company’s successful emergence from bankruptcy and ultimate sale to Hewlett Packard in 2006," says his Bond Buyer profile
Further down the airport pay line, director of communications Diana Lucero, picked up $229.280. Stephanie Alexander, senior manager of talent and awards, got $160, 468, according to Transparent California.