Updated: 1:33 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 | Posted: 3:33 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22, 2010

Dayton aviation director Iftikhar Ahmad offered New Orleans job

By John Nolan

Staff Writer

DAYTON — Dayton International Airport will have a new air traffic control tower and parking garage this summer, its terminal building’s lobby will have a new layout and look by year’s end, new airport restaurants have opened and the airlines’ costs of doing business there have been reduced.

Now, the official who helped guide the changes — Iftikhar Ahmad, Dayton’s aviation director — is likely to be leaving for a new job as New Orleans’ aviation director. Ahmad said New Orleans offered him the job Monday, Feb. 22, and they are to negotiate his employment contract.

Assuming that a deal is worked out, Dayton will need to find someone to step in, see the projects through to completion and continue the momentum.

Stanley Earley, Dayton’s deputy city manager, said he hopes that Ahmad stays in Dayton, but that he understands the pursuit of new professional challenges.

“The projects that have been started, we will finish them and build on them,” Earley said Monday. “We don’t know the timing of when he’s going to leave.

“He’s been a major plus for Dayton and for Dayton’s airport system. His performance has been excellent,” Earley said.

Ahmad, 43, said he applied for the New Orleans job at the urging of an executive recruiter. He interviewed with the New Orleans Aviation Board on Thursday, Feb. 18.

He would oversee an ongoing modernization and reconstruction of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, which is rebuilding along with the Gulf Coast region it serves, after the 2005 destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans airport is larger than either the Cincinnati, Columbus or Dayton airports.

Ahmad declined to discuss when he would start the new job.

“The contract has not been negotiated,” he said.

Ahmad is certain to receive a raise from the annual salary of $123,968 he is paid to oversee the city-owned Dayton International and Dayton-Wright Brothers airports. Sean Hunter, who resigned from the New Orleans job in September, was making more than $160,000, according to The Times-Picayune, the New Orleans daily newspaper.

Ahmad was a candidate last year to oversee the Jacksonville, Fla., airport system before officials there chose another candidate in July 2009.

He previously was an executive with the Nashville, Tenn., and Houston airport systems.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2242 or jnolan@DaytonDailyNews.com.


Hot topics