Jason Licon, manager of Northern Colorado Regional Airport, has resigned after 12½ years at the Loveland facility.
His resignation is effective Friday, June 2.
Licon has guided the airport through its rebranding and renaming from Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport to Northern Colorado Regional Airport; the loss of Allegiant Air; the arrival and departure of Elite Airways and Avelo Air, both of which started and ceased operations after flying for only a few months; a partnership between United Airlines and Landline to provide "wingless flights"; a one-of-a-kind remote air traffic control tower that is still in the testing phase; a runway expansion; and approval of a new airport terminal.
But Licon has been under pressure from general aviation pilots for his handling of the closure of two sets of hangars that have been deemed unsafe and from Windsor developer Martin Lind, who has repeatedly taken issue with airport management.
The Northern Colorado Regional Airport Commission has fully supported Licon, said Don Overcash, chairman of the Northern Colorado Regional Airport Commission. Licon's resignation "caught me by surprise and I was disappointed, but I understand someone's desire to make a career move after 12½ years."
Licon did not immediately return phone calls or emails seeking comment.
Overcash said criticism comes with any civil service job. "I can only imagine the attacks, when they attack one's character, takes a toll on most people. Jason consistently rose above the personal attacks that were made. He handled himself quite well."
What happens now
The airport, owned by the cities of Loveland and Fort Collins, won't hire a permanent manager until it solves some governance issues, which are currently being studied. Fort Collins City Manager Kelly DiMartino and Loveland City Manager Steve Adams are reviewing candidates to serve as interim manager and could make a decision any day, Overcash said.
Under the governance model, it will fall to Adams to make the appointment.
While Fort Collins and Loveland co-own the airport, the property was physically annexed into the city of Loveland in 1992. Loveland took on the cost of administration, including airport employees and the cost of providing support, so it gets all the sales- and use-tax revenue from the airport.
Fort Collins reaps no direct financial benefit from the airport, but the airport hasn't cost the city anything for four years, up until a recent $1 million request to help fill a funding gap for the new terminal.
Loveland jumped in with their contribution, but some Fort Collins City Council members balked at the request.
“The current (governance) model requires the airport to go back to both city councils for some funding requests and major changes or initiatives,” Overcash previously told the Coloradoan. “And you’ve got two parents with different interests at times.”
The current governance model "is a hindrance," he said Wednesday. City councils each set their own priorities and are in difference places in their own life cycle, he said. "It's not fair to evaluate someone else's issues. I think it's time to take a look at (the model) and solidifying the foundation of this airport."
This is a developing story and could be updated. Check back for new information as it becomes available.
This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Fort Collins-Loveland airport manager Jason Licon resigns