As we begin this New Year, I am pleased to report that the New Orleans Aviation Board (NOAB) and staff of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport have made plans to follow a strong path of progress in 2011. Last year, as I have pointed out in recent articles, was a time to assess the present condition of the airport, review its operations and begin putting in place methods and measurements to do a course correction in where the airport should go and what it should be. The NOAB and staff have embraced the challenges that lie before us and have taken action to make the airport what it should be – a friendly and safe center of transportation that serves the needs of the passenger and is an airport the community can be proud of.
By the end of 2010, the NOAB management began implementing a number of the changes that were needed. Here are just a few:
Concession Hours: The concession hours were changed for most vendors from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. We are already getting kudos for this action. Passengers are delighted that they can now get a cup of coffee before that early morning flight.
Take-Home Vehicles: For the most part, the airport take home fleet has been parked. There are only 2 vehicles that qualify for take-home and those are assigned to staff that are on call 24/7/365 at the airport.
Overtime Policy: A new overtime policy was implemented and the NOAB staff office hours are now structured for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hiring Plan: We have begun hiring additional staff and replacing positions left vacant by retirements and resignations. Since Hurricane Katrina, the staff levels have been half of what they should be for an airport this size. One important note, we are concentrating on hiring a staff that is credentialed in their field of endeavor coupled with experience. As we continue our search, I am pleased to announce that two executive staff positions have now been filled. First is the position of Deputy Director and Chief Operations Officer (COO). Mr. Walter J. Krygowski is filling this position. He was the Interim Director of Aviation for the City of Dayton, which owns and operates the Dayton International Airport and its reliever/general aviation airport, the Dayton Wright Brothers Airport, as well as a heliport located in downtown Dayton. Mr. Krygowski has
been involved in aviation management for over 10 years. He began his aviation career as airport legal council, and rose to the level of Deputy Director of Aviation in 2007. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Dayton School of Law in 1996. In his position at Dayton, he supervised six Division Managers, including Operations and Maintenance, Airport Police, Airport Fire and Administration & Finance. In his role as Deputy Director, he was responsible for alignment of staff resources and facilitation of changes in operation and maintenance methods and service delivery that were consistent with strategic direction to reduce airline cost per enplanement. His experience will serve MSY very well. The second executive position is Deputy Director and Chief Engineer. This position has been filled by Mr. Raymond Nutall. At the time of his hiring, Mr. Nutall was the Managing Engineer for William P. Hobby and Ellington Airports for the Houston Airport System (HAS). He joined HAS in 1999 and assisted in the development and management of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for HAS. This included developing an electrical master plan for George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Mr. Nutall has over 25 years of design and construction experience, including 12 years in management. He oversaw an employment base consisting of engineers, project managers, inspectors and administration. He also had oversight for the expenditure of millions of dollars in projects of various scale. Mr. Nutall holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Prairie View A&M University. His work experience began in the private sector for companies such as Union Carbide. He has a Professional Engineering license for the State of Texas.
As we continue our march forward this year, I will keep you informed about the upgrades and changes that will continue to improve the airport. On behalf of the New Orleans Aviation Board and staff, I want to wish you the happiest of New Years.
Iftikhar Ahmad, director of aviation for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org