In a fresh move to bolster aviation leadership, President Joe Biden has put forward Michael Whitaker as his choice to head the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This announcement came on Thursday, directly from the White House.
Whitaker’s Aviation Background
No stranger to the aviation world, Whitaker boasts an extensive resume. He has previously held the position of deputy administrator of the FAA, and according to the White House’s statement, he is also “currently the chief operating officer of Supernal, a Hyundai Motor Group company designing an electric advanced air mobility (AAM) vehicle.”
His experience doesn’t stop there. Whitaker’s aviation journey includes roles at giant corporations like InterGlobe Enterprises, United Airlines, and Trans World Airlines. Apart from these impressive credentials, Whitaker is a trained private pilot and holds a law degree.
This nomination is timely. Congress is in the thick of discussions about renewing FAA funding. Previous nominee, Phil Washington, faced considerable opposition, eventually pulling out of the nomination in March. Concerns over Washington’s limited aviation experience and potential legal hurdles, combined with inadequate support from Democrats, halted his nomination in its tracks.
The aviation industry, along with various stakeholders, welcomed Biden’s choice with open arms. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President, Sara Nelson, didn’t mince words: “We congratulate Mike Whitaker on his nomination for FAA Administrator. We support the President’s decision and call on the Senate to move to swift confirmation.”
Furthermore, United Airlines, where Whitaker dedicated 15 years in diverse roles, was quick to laud the decision. Their spokesperson, Sam Coleman, emphasized, “Mike has deep aviation expertise and a solid reputation as a problem solver. We urge the U.S. Senate to move swiftly on his confirmation process.”
With the FAA’s last Senate-confirmed administrator, Steve Dickson, resigning in March 2022, and Polly Trottenberg leading as an interim head since June, the organization desperately needs permanent leadership. With his vast experience, Michael Whitaker emerges as a promising candidate, ready to navigate the FAA into the future.
Photo courtesy of Michael G. Whitaker / Linkedin
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