La Crosse Aviation Board appoints Jeffery Tripp as director

The La Crosse Aviation Board named a new director of the La Crosse Regional Airport Monday afternoon after passing over the candidate earlier in March. Jeffery Tripp was selected by the board after a round of interviews and must be confirmed by City Hall before full installation.

Tripp comes from Cottonwood Municipal Airport in Arizona. Cottonwood Municipal Airport is a non-towered general aviation air base. Currently no major airlines use the airport. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the airport is known as a major hub for flight training and tourist flights, with many visiting the surrounding wineries and nearby outdoor recreation opportunities.

His first position as an airport manager was in 2012 at the Prescott Municipal Airport in Arizona. From there, Tripp held his first director position in Redmond, Oregon, for just over a year.

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Tripp then served as airport manager for Muskegon County Airport, a non-primary commercial airport, from 2016 to 2019. Muskegon County Airport is served by United Airlines with daily flights to O’Hare International Airport and charter flights to three other East Coast cities.

Tripp was one of two airport director candidates announced in March by the La Crosse Human Resources Department to fill the open position. The interview panel decided to restart the search in April after being unhappy with the results.

The city is restarting the search for a new director of the La Crosse Regional Airport

“He just emerged as the obvious, top candidate,” Aviation Board President Tamra Dickinson said of Tripp’s return as the top candidate.

The city will move Tripp’s confirmation to the June 6 Finance and Personnel Committee meeting. If his confirmation is approved, the full City Council will consider the candidate on June 13.

If approved, Tripp will start as airport director on June 17, right after the airport hosts the Deke Slayton Airfest.

The new airport director is entering a turbulent situation with many changes coming to La Crosse Regional over the past year. Last June, Delta Air Lines canceled all flights to Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport to and from La Crosse. The furlough took a third of potential passengers with it.

Delta Airlines' departure from La Crosse Airport reduces the number of potential flyers by a third in 2023

Now La Crosse Regional Airport has three daily flights to O’Hare International Airport, operated by American Airlines. American Airlines added its third daily flight in February and expanded to larger planes earlier this month.

Former airport director Ian Turner left for another director position in Idaho Falls. He served as La Crosse airport director for four and a half years. The Aviation Council started the search for a new director the same month.