The Port of Bellingham announced today that it hired Sunil Harman to be the Bellingham airport’s new director.
Harman starts Nov. 2, replacing former director Dan Zenk, who left in June for a job in the aviations operations division with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Harman has more than 30 years of experience developing and managing airports as engines for economic development, trade and commerce, according to a press release from the Port of Bellingham. He has worked at airports including John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York, Miami International Airport and San Diego International Airport.
Most recently, he directed Okaloosa Regional Airport on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Mike Hogan, Port of Bellingham spokesperson, said the airport’s top priorities are efficiency, customer service and replacing routes that it lost in the last several years.
“[Harman] has extensive connections in the airline industry and can really meet our objectives for the airport, the primary one being replacing the routes that we lost,” Hogan said.
The port hired Sunil after a national search. He will make $120,000 annually, Hogan said.
Traffic at the airport has been decreasing for several years. In September, 28,764 passengers flew out of the airport, a 25.2 percent decrease from September 2014. Mark Leutwiler, airport manager, told the Bellingham Business Journal in August that those numbers should improve in November, when Alaska Airlines brings back service to Hawaii and Las Vegas. But they are expected to continue lagging behind last year’s traffic numbers.