As more use the airport, chief's pay takes off, too; Adding low-fare carriers and expanding terminal cited in 6% salary boost

Passenger counts are increasing at Richmond International Airport, and so is the salary of the airport's chief executive.

The Capital Region Airport Commission increased the annual pay of Jon Mathiasen, the airport's president and chief executive officer, by 6 percent yesterday, to $212,000 a year.

The unanimous decision came after a short, closed meeting of the airport's governing board. Mathiasen's other benefits, including a $1,200 monthly car allowance, were not changed.

Last year, the commission gave Mathiasen a 5 percent pay increase, to $200,000.

The commission was pleased with Mathiasen's performance, especially as the airport undergoes a major terminal and road expansion, said the board's chairman, Beverley "Booty" Armstrong of Richmond.

"The terminal project went off without a hitch," Armstrong said after the meeting. "The operation of the airport seems to be going really well. Morale among the employees seems to be good, and [Mathiasen] seems to be getting things done."

Mathiasen also has been successful at attracting low-fare carriers, he said.

Rising use of low-fare carriers helped push the airport's passenger traffic to nearly 327,000 in May, the 24th consecutive monthly record for passengers boarding and departing.

The commission looked at the salaries of top executives at other airports before deciding on Mathiasen's raise, Armstrong said.

Mathiasen was hired as the airport's chief executive in 2000 at a salary of $145,000.


Richmond International Airport posted its 24th consecutive month of record passenger traffic in May. The number of passengers grew to 326,888, up 8.9 percent from the same month in 2006. Here are airline market shares for the month. Skybus Airlines started nonstop service to Columbus, Ohio, on May 23.

U.S. Airways: 25.3 percent

Delta Airlines: 23.1 percent

American Airlines: 11.16 percent

United Airlines: 10.34 percent

AirTran Airways: 8.97 percent

JetBlue Airways: 8.51 percent

Continental Airlines: 7.58 percent

Northwest Airlines: 4.05 percent

Skybus Airlines: 0.62 percent

SOURCE: Capital Region Airport Commission

Contact John Reid Blackwell at (804) 775-8123 or