Kristina Bennett-Holmes always wanted to be a pilot when she was growing up. While attending the University of Southern Mississippi, a professor learned of her dream when Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (GPT) was looking for an intern, which opened a door into the industry.
“No day is the same working at an airport,” Bennett-Holmes said. “I get to meet all walks of life every day when interacting with our passengers as well as with people on the business side. It’s always interesting.”
Bennett-Holmes is the deputy director of aviation — commercial development for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). She has been at MSY since 2014, working in air service development, commercial development and property management.
Bennett-Holmes successfully recruited more than 50 new flights and nine new airlines, including nonstop service to London with British Airways and Frankfurt, Germany with Condor Airlines.
“There was a tremendous amount of teamwork that went into the recruitment and launch of British Airways and Condor at MSY,” she said. “They started service from the former terminal, and we worked tirelessly to accommodate all of the international widebody components. I was able to go on the inaugural flight of British Airways. One of the proudest moments of my career was flying out on the Dreamliner after so much work went into that entire effort.”
Her efforts contributed to MSY achieving record-breaking passenger totals from 2015 through 2019 while also helping the airport through opening its new terminal and getting the opportunity to lead redevelopment efforts into the future.
“I come from a small town in Mississippi, so I grew up coming to New Orleans,” Bennett-Holmes said. “This airport serves not just the city of New Orleans, but the greater region, so it’s that much more gratifying to work in an airport that also serves your hometown."
Bennett-Holmes recently recruited Breeze Airways to MSY. It not only selected the airport as part of its initial slate of destinations, but also as one of four main operations bases for the airline.
Breeze launched service to 10 destination and will make a capital investment of $6.6 million at MSY, creating 261 new direct jobs. Bennett-Holmes began discussions with Breeze in May 2019, and leadership of Breeze Airways, acknowledged their appreciation of her professionalism and hospitality.
Bennett-Holmes is a member of ACI-NA’s Air Service Committee as well as being a Certified Member of AAAE. During the pandemic, she spent countless hours on the ACI-NA Committee calls for airports, where resources were shared as airports worked tirelessly to recover operations from COVID-19.
Bennett-Holmes was elected to serve as vice-Chair of ACI-NA’s U.S. International Air Service Program in February and currently serves as Chair.