A woman Los Angeles City officials recognized as having a history of improving international airports is set to take the helm of the city department that operates Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and three other Southern California airports.

Gina Marie Lindsey, a veteran airport manager with 16 years of experience, has been appointed as the new executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, which manages LAX, LA/Ontario International (ONT), Van Nuys (VNY) and LA/Palmdale Regional (PMD).

In announcing Lindsey’s appointment at a press conference at LAX Thursday, May 10th, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said she is an executive who has a proven track record of success in renovating and modernizing international airports in Seattle and Anchorage.

As the new executive director for Los Angeles World Airports, Lindsey will help continue the modernization and regionalization efforts for the airports and develop new initiatives to update airport services, the mayor said.

“In searching for a new executive director, we knew we needed someone with experience, with an ability to build bridges and with a vision for moving the area’s airports forward,” Villaraigosa said. “We found the perfect candidate in Gina Marie Lindsey.

“She will take Los Angeles World Airports to clearer skies in the years to come.”

Lindsey was selected for the position over 70 other candidates. The city Board of Airport Commissioners has approved Lindsey’s appointment, which must also still be approved by the Los Angeles City Council.

If her appointment is okayed by the council as expected, Lindsey will succeed former executive director Lydia Kennard, who stepped down from the position earlier this year.

Lindsey formerly served as managing director of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and was also director of aviation for Anchorage International Airport.

City officials in attendance at the press conference praised Lindsey as an aviation industry leader and noted that she comes to the Los Angeles airport department at a historical time.

Villaraigosa listed events that have recently occurred at LAX, such as the reconstruction of the south runway, the landing of the Airbus A-380, the world’s biggest passenger airplane, as well as the renovation of the Tom Bradley International Terminal that has started.

“Ms. Lindsey takes the reins at Los Angeles World Airports at its most critical moment in recent history,” said City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents the LAX area in the 11th Council District.

Airport Commission president Alan Rothenberg added that Lindsey joins the airport department at a “time of great opportunity and challenge.”

Rosendahl pointed out that perhaps Lindsey’s “greatest challenge” will be to strike a compromise with airport neighbors on a new LAX Master Plan, which must meet the needs of the airport and businesses without having a negative impact on surrounding communities.

Denny Schneider, president of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion (ARSAC) said he was particularly impressed with Lindsey because she recognizes the need to work with local neighbors, including those in Westchester and Playa del Rey, in dealing with airport issues.

“She already has the experience in dealing with and solving the difficult decisions,” Schneider said. “She will know how to make this airport (LAX) function more effectively and safely.”

Lindsey acknowledged that she faces many challenges as the new executive director but said she looks forward to the opportunity to lead the airport agency.

“We have tremendous things to accomplish and we have the ability now to do it,” Lindsey said.

“It’s a fabulous opportunity for me to take this airport system, for one of the greatest cities in the world, forward.”

When asked to describe some of her career experience that will help her in her job of leading Los Angeles airports, Lindsey said she was “able to navigate significant transitions” during her work at the Seattle and Anchorage airports.

During her time in Seattle, Lindsey implemented a $4.1 billion effort that included the construction of a new runway, the remodeling of the airport con- course and the expansion of the central terminal.

As director of aviation in Anchorage, Lindsey helped transform the airport into a hub for international cargo and trade.

Prior to accepting the position with Los Angeles World Airports, Lindsey was working as executive vice president at McBee Strategic Consulting, LLC in Washington, D.C., where she was responsible for establishing and expanding the aviation lobbying and consulting practice.

She previously served as chairman and world governing board member of Airports Council International and was on the board of the American Association of Airport Executives.

The U.S. Secretary of Transportation also recently appointed Lindsey to the Airport Cooperative Research Board and the executive council of the Next Generation Air Transportation Sys- tem.