The shadow of former airport chief Lydia Kennard appears to be affecting the search for the next director of Los Angeles World Airports.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa -- who invited several City Council members to join him last week in interviewing three finalists for the post -- is said to be nearing a decision on an appointment.
The three candidates are Gina Marie Lindsay from Seattle-Tacoma Airport; Thella Bowens, president of the San Diego Airport Authority; and Susan Kurland, a former associate administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.
All three are said to have done well in interviews, but several have questioned the continuing presence of Kennard and how much freedom they would have running LAX and the city's other airports.
Kennard has served twice as executive director of LAWA and was credited with helping resolve lawsuits over a massive modernization plan for Los Angeles International Airport. At the same time, however, she has not won any friends among the airlines, which are suing LAX over proposed rent increases.
For Villaraigosa, Kennard is seen as a valuable adviser, and the Airport Commission recently awarded her a $200,000-a-year consulting contract on matters involving LAX.
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In her first year back in the pilot's seat, Lydia Kennard has managed to get some long-delayed projects off the ground.
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Efforts at regionalizing air transportation already have failed three times in recent years.
The Board of Airport Commissioners recently named Lydia Kennard as executive director of Los Angeles World Airports.