San Bernardino International Airport has hired Nikolas Persson as its new airport manager following the departure of Liliana Valle for a position in Riverside.
Persson began his position on March 8 and was introduced to the San Bernardino International Airport Authority during its March 28 meeting.
Persson comes to San Bernardino after seven years at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana where he was airport operations officer. He says he was drawn to the airport by a desire to help the airport continue in its impressive growth and the positive economic and environmental effects it’s having on the community with economic development and job creation.
“Nikolas Persson’s experience at a thriving commercial airport has prepared him for the strong growth taking hold at SBD,” says Mark Gibbs, director of aviation at SBD International Airport. “His keen understanding of the federal regulations governing airport management and the intricacies of both internal and external customers will be instrumental in his role at the airport.”
“Here at San Bernardino there’s such a strong and growing business and the growth attracted me,” Persson said. “There’s exciting times ahead here and I’m just glad to be part of the team and happy to continue the excellent work of my predecessor, Executive Director Mike Burrows, Director of Aviation Mark Gibbs and the airport commission.”
Persson grew up in Austria and says it was the flights back and forth between the U.S. and Austria during his childhood that gave him an early love for aviation—a love that was further cemented when he received his private pilot’s license.
“I love everything about aviation, and now I’m on the business and administrative side of the airport,” Persson said. “It’s a great challenge to provide a safe and efficient environment for passengers, cargo and aircraft to operate at the airport.”
Persson holds an associate’s degree in commercial flight from Mt. San Antonio Community College, a bachelors in aviation administration from Cal State Los Angeles and is certified by the American Association of Airport Executives in both Advanced and Basic Airport Safety and Operations.
As the airport manager, Persson is responsible for planning, directing and training of airport operations staff. As a team, they work to ensure the airport maintains the highest FAA standards, airport business, conditions of the airport and high environmental standards.
“At John Wayne I was able to see what a really well run organization looks like. I was part of a team that oversaw terminal and land-side operations,” Persson said. “It’s a busy small airport that’s grown into one of the premiere Southern California airports. That’s what we have here, the potential to be just that.”
He sees cargo as a top means for the airport to continue its growing economic influence in the Inland Empire.
“Cargo is an exciting sector here and we’re set up and positioned well to have a major roll in cargo in the Inland Empire,” Persson added. “That’s come out of previous planning and development to the point that we’ve proven we have the facilities to handle great volume.”
This is evident in the airport’s recent partnership agreement with UPS Airlines to host UPS cargo flights five days a week.