Airport board responses following inewsource/CBS8 investigation: 1
The San Diego County International Airport. Photo courtesy KPBS News.

Airport board responses following inewsource/CBS8 investigation: 1

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Feb. 8 to include a response from the airport board’s chair, April Boling.

Last week, inewsource and CBS8 published an investigation about the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s CEO, Thella Bowens, and the amount of airport money she has spent traveling around the world since 2010.

The story found Bowens expensed more than $340,000 over the past six years at the public agency, staying at five-star hotels in Hawaii, China and Paris and expensing $10,000 plane tickets to Australia and South Africa for conferences, meetings and speaking engagements.

A spokeswoman for the airport told inewsource/CBS8 that “Business travel is key to continuous learning about the aviation industry and helps us meet our goal of attracting new nonstop air service to satisfy regional demand.”

In addition to managing flights in and out of Lindbergh Field, the authority that oversees the airport — which occupies the largest swath of public land along the bayfront — also enforces curfew violations, mitigates airport noise through its Quieter Home Program and profits from businesses operating within its jurisdiction.

After publication, we asked nine airport board members to respond to our story. As of today, one has responded.

Speaking on behalf of the entire board, April Boling, the airport board chair, emailed inewsource on Feb. 8 to say, “As a Board, we are satisfied with the return on investment we see related to Ms. Bowens’ travel.”

The email read in part, “Our goal has been to expand international travel opportunities – both for San Diego residents and for business and leisure travelers from other countries. Under Ms. Bowens’ leadership we have also sought to expand domestic operations. In 2009, we had air service to 45 destinations (42 domestic and 3 international). In 2017, we will serve 63 destinations (55 domestic and 8 international), a 40 percent increase in nonstop destinations. These flights did not accidentally appear in our airspace. That increase is due, in very large part, to ongoing meetings with airlines to present our business case for bringing them here.”

You can read the entire email here.

In the interest of accountability, inewsource will continue to keep a running tally of who has and who has not responded to our findings. To be clear, these are people appointed to the airport board by elected officials and some are elected officials themselves. Here’s the full list, including their contact information.

C. April Boling, Board Chair
Appointed by Mayor, City of San Diego
Email: aboling@san.org
Phone: 619.400.2408
Status: Has responded

Greg Cox
Appointed by San Diego County Board of Supervisors
Email: gcox@san.org
Phone – 619.400.2408
Status: Has not responded

Jim Desmond
Appointed by North Inland area mayors
Email: jdesmond@san.org
Phone – 619.400.2408
Status: Has not responded

Robert H. Gleason
Appointed by Mayor, City of San Diego
Email – rgleason@san.org
Phone – 619.400.2408
Status: Has not responded

Jim Janney
Appointed by South County area mayors
Email – jjanney@san.org
Phone – 619.400.2408
Status: Has not responded

Mark Kersey
Appointed by Mayor, City of San Diego
Email – mkersey@san.org
Phone – 619.400.2408
Status: Has not responded

Paul Robinson, Vice Chair
Appointed by the Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors
Email – probinson@san.org
Phone – 619.400.2408
Status: Has not responded

Mary Sessom
Appointed by East County area mayors
Email – msessom@san.org
Phone – 619.400.2408
Status: Has not responded

Colonel Jason G. Woodworth, Ex-Officio Member
Email – jwoodwor@san.org
Status: Has not responded

shadow-ornament

We'll let you know when big things happen.

About Brad Racino:

Brad Racino is a senior reporter and assistant director at inewsource. To contact him with tips, suggestions or corrections, please email bradracino at inewsource dot org.
 
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