The British Airways' inaugural flight lands from London at the New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport in Kenner, La. Monday, March 27, 2017. It's the first international flight from Europe to land since the 1980s to land at the airport.

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON

The New Orleans Aviation Board has picked Kevin Dolliole, the former director of aviation at airports in St. Louis and San Antonio, to run Louis Armstrong International Airport.

Dolliole replaces Mark Reis, who has served as interim director at the airport since Iftikar Ahmad left last year to lead Rhode Island's airport system.

Dolliole, who now is working for Unison Consulting, has previously held several positions at Armstrong, including a stint as acting director.

“I’m thrilled to return to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport as the director of aviation,” Dolliole said in a statement. “I’m committed to carrying on the transformative work taking place and look forward to joining this talented team of professionals who have worked tirelessly to take (the airport) to the next level.”

Armstrong is in the process of building a new terminal to replace the existing facility. The billion-dollar project is expected to be wrapped up in February 2019. 

“Our airport has made a lot of progress in the past few years," said City Councilman Jared Brossett, chairman of the council's Transportation Committee. "I’m excited to have a native New Orleanian with national experience on board to run the airport as we finish the $1 billion expansion and new terminal project.”

Dolliole will earn a salary of $265,000, about $48,000 less than Ahmad made when he left last year. 

The Aviation Board conducted the search for Ahmad's replacement largely out of the public eye. A Florida-based aviation executive search firm, ADK Consultants and Executive Search, handled the initial part of the process, which was overseen by the board's executive committee.

The applicants were narrowed down to two candidates in the past month, with each of them brought in for one-on-one meetings with board members.

The decision to move forward with Dolliole was made during an executive session at the board's meeting last week and, while there was a public vote authorizing board Chairwoman Cheryl Teamer to move forward, Dolliole was not publicly discussed during the meeting. 

Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.​