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Saturday, July 13, 2024

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Diverse Leaders Applaud President Biden’s Nomination of Michael G. Whitaker for Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Diverse Leaders Applaud President Biden’s Nomination of Michael G. Whitaker for Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration

Yesterday, President Biden nominated Mike Whitaker to be Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Whitaker served as Deputy Administrator at the FAA. He has 30 years of aviation experience, managing large organizations, and he knows how to work in government and across the aviation community to get big things done. The FAA needs a confirmed Administrator – and Mike Whitaker is the right person for the job.

See below for what they are saying:

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation: “The United States must be the global standard in aviation safety. From building a well-trained workforce to addressing critical safety concerns to modernizing the national airspace system, there is no shortage of issues before the FAA. Mr. Whitaker will use his substantial aviation experience and knowledge to meet these challenges. I look forward to working with him and his strong leadership at the agency.” [Statement, 9/7/23]

Nicholas E. Calio, President and CEO, Airlines for America (A4A): “We applaud the Administration’s action to submit a nomination to the U.S. Senate for FAA Administrator. The U.S. aviation industry is currently facing critical challenges and significant opportunities in management of the National Airspace System (NAS). As passenger travel continues to grow and Americans rely daily on cargo shipments, the system must keep up. New entrants, new technologies and innovations must be integrated into the system. A permanent, confirmed FAA Administrator is needed to provide leadership, stability and vision for the NAS, which is becoming more complex and more important every day. Michael Whitaker has extensive experience working on a range of priorities including NextGen modernization at both the FAA and at major airlines. He has a deep understanding of and appreciation for the collaborative partnership between industry and government that is necessary to ensure air travel remains the safest mode of transportation in the world.  We urge expeditious consideration of this important nominee.” [Statement, 9/7/23]

Rich Santa, President, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, AFL-CIO (NATCA): “The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, AFL-CIO, (NATCA) congratulates former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Deputy Administrator and Chief NextGen Officer, Michael Whitaker, on his nomination by President Joe Biden to be the next administrator of the FAA. NATCA urges the Senate to perform its constitutional duty to provide advice and consent and move this nomination forward with all due diligence. A permanent Administrator committed to continued collaboration must be confirmed to ensure FAA addresses its longstanding and ongoing controller staffing crisis and more recent safety incidents. NATCA looks forward to working with Mr. Whitaker to address the FAA’s pressing challenges, from staffing and training, to runway safety, to modernization of technology and infrastructure, to the safe and efficient integration of new users into the National Airspace System.” [Statement, 9/7/23]

Greg Regan and Shari Semelsberger, President and Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD): “As the nation’s largest transportation labor federation, we welcome President Biden’s nomination of Michael Whitaker to lead the FAA. The agency is long overdue for permanent leadership, especially as our national airspace system faces urgent challenges such as flight disruptions, safety incidents, and staffing issues for air traffic controllers and other aviation safety professionals. The Administrator role is one of the most critical safety jobs in the Department of Transportation and must be filled by a permanent leader who can clear the significant backlog of overdue rule makings and provide stability as the previous five-year reauthorization of the FAA is set to expire this year.” [Statement, 9/7/23]

Sara Nelson, President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA): “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. Our national air transportation system needs attention. Perhaps more than any other time in aviation history, it is urgent that we have a confirmed FAA Administrator. Whitaker has the experience to step into the role and immediately lead us forward.” [Statement, 97/23]

Ray LaHood, Former U.S. Transportation Secretary: “I have personally worked with Mike and believe he is the right leader to take the helm at the FAA… If confirmed, Mike will bring industry and government together to address current challenges at the FAA and focus on needed reforms to ensure the United States remains the global standard in aviation.”

Captain Jason Ambrosi, President, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA): “ALPA applauds the nomination of Michael Whitaker to lead the safest and most complex aviation system in the world. Michael understands that the most important safety feature on any aircraft is two, highly-trained and well-rested pilots, and the paramount need to protect current pilot safety training regulations. This nomination comes at a particularly critical time for the FAA. In order to maintain the world’s safest air transportation system, modernize outdated infrastructure, and keep passengers and crews safe, we need permanent, stable leadership that is safety-focused, and we look forward to his swift approval by the United States Senate.” [Statement, 9/7/23]

American Airlines: “American is pleased to see Michael Whitaker nominated to be the next FAA Administrator and we look forward to supporting his nomination. During this critical time in aviation, it is essential that the FAA be led by a permanent administrator who understands the intricacies of the system. A former FAA Deputy Administrator who has spent decades in the aviation industry, Mr. Whitaker is eminently qualified for the role.” [9/7/23]

Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA): “APFA congratulates Mike Whitaker on his nomination to lead the FAA, which has been without permanent leadership for over a year. Aviation is facing rapid growth and change since emerging from the pandemic, and we need strong leadership to ensure that the FAA’s oversight of our airspace and safety regulations is robust and timely. We appreciate Acting Administrators Polly Trottenberg and Billy Nolen for their public service, and we specifically applaud Mr. Nolen for signing the Flight Attendant 10-hour minimum rest rule into law. Mr. Whitaker has a background working for the FAA, which will be needed to address the challenges ahead, including the increase in runway incursions, ATC staffing levels, aging technology, and promptly filling the vacant high-level administrative positions. In addition, many aviation labor groups throughout the industry, including APFA, are in contract negotiations. APFA urges Congress to pass an FAA Reauthorization Bill soon to address aviation’s most pressing issues. If confirmed, we look forward to working with Mr. Whitaker to maintain the highest aviation safety standards.” [Statement, 9/7/23]

Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA): “APFA congratulates @FAANews Mike Whitaker on his nomination to lead the FAA. If confirmed, we look forward to working with Mr. Whitaker to maintain the highest standard of safety in aviation.” [Tweet, 9/7/23]

Dr. Hassan Shahidi, President and CEO, Flight Safety Foundation: “As a member of the Flight Safety Foundation Board of Governors, Mike Whitaker has brought exceptional expertise and an industry-wide perspective that have been invaluable in shaping and guiding our mission to enhance global aviation safety. Mike’s deep understanding of aviation, combined with his strategic vision, has been a tremendous asset to the Foundation and a driving force behind our pursuit of excellence in aviation safety. Mike is an excellent choice for FAA administrator.” [9/7/23]

General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA): “President and CEO Pete Bunce: “The FAA, the civil aviation industry and the American flying-public deserve a leader with experience in managing large organizations and an aviation background to develop an aviation system that is safer, more efficient and technologically advanced. We are pleased to see that the Biden Administration has nominated Mike Whitaker, who we feel possesses the leadership skills, management experience and aviation knowledge needed to lead the FAA. Having worked with Mr. Whitaker in his previous role as FAA Deputy Administrator, we are confident that his intimate knowledge of how the agency functions and interfaces with the Department of Transportation, Congress and the industry will improve his ability to navigate the challenges now facing the FAA. We also believe that Mr. Whitaker and Katie Thomson, the recently appointed Deputy Administrator, will be a strong leadership team for the agency. GAMA supports the confirmation of Mr. Whitaker to provide needed stability and direction for the FAA during this transformative time for aviation.” [Statement, 9/7/23]

James Viola, President and CEO, Helicopter Association International (HAI): “Mike’s 30 years of aviation policy experience gives him the knowledge and skillset to effectively lead the FAA. I worked closely with Mike during my tenure overseeing general aviation at the FAA and, from what I saw, I am confident that he is the right person to lead the agency at a time when aviation— particularly vertical aviation—is evolving at such as rapid pace. […] HAI is confident that Mike will provide that leadership. Mike is the leader the FAA needs at this time, and we fully support his nomination.” [Statement, 9/7/23]

Michael Huerta, Acting Secretary of Transportation, FAA Administrator, Acting FAA Administrator, Deputy FAA Administrator 2010-2018: “As a talented and experienced leader, an aviation professional and a pilot, Mike Whitaker has the background and qualifications needed to lead and direct the agency at this critical time.  He recognizes the value of collaboration between the FAA, the industry it regulates, and the people that work in it to ensure the highest level of safety for the traveling public. The FAA is a large and complex organization whose mission is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.  It has done its job well, and the U.S. represents the gold-standard in aviation.  Now, the agency and must deal with rapid growth, and the need to establish policies and standards for new innovations, new entrants and the future evolution of this important industry.” [9/7/23]

Delta Airlines: “The FAA is recognized as a world leader in aviation safety and innovation, but is long overdue for permanent leadership. We congratulate Michael Whitaker on his nomination as FAA Administrator. If confirmed, Delta looks forward to working closely with him and will continue to collaborate with the FAA to ensure that commercial aviation remains the safest mode of transportation in the world.” [9/7/23]

United: “Now more than ever, the FAA needs strong leadership. We are pleased that Michael Whitaker has been nominated for this critical role and look forward to working with him to improve our aviation system for our employees and customers. 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.” [9/7/23]

Richie Johnsen, Air Transport Territory General Vice President, The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM): “As the largest airline union in the United States, the IAM is confident that Mike Whitaker will put air transport workers at the forefront of decision-making at the FAA. I commend Mr. Whitaker for reaching out to the IAM to have meaningful dialogue about the issues facing our more than 100,000 airline members. Together, we are committed to work together to protect air transport workers against passenger assault, address foreign repair station policy, tackle industry understaffing, and more. After a year-and-a-half of delays, we urge the U.S. Senate to move swiftly to confirm Mr. Whitaker as the next administrator of the FAA.” [Statement, 9/7/23]

American Economic Liberties Project: “The enormous responsibilities of the Administrator of the FAA cannot be overstated in respect to protecting the health and safety of passengers, employees, and the public at large by overseeing airlines, airports, aircraft manufacturers, personnel, and America’s entire aviation ecosystem,” said William J. McGee, Senior Fellow for Aviation and Travel at the American Economic Liberties Project. “It’s a huge job, and Economic Liberties believes Mr. Whitaker’s varied experience at the FAA and in the industry working in both the airline and drone sectors makes him very qualified to serve well in this role. We urge Congress to move quickly to approve his nomination.” [Statement, 9/7/23]

GE: “GE Aerospace applauds the nomination of Michael Whitaker as FAA Administrator and urge the Senate to act swiftly in a bipartisan manner to confirm him. With experience across the aviation sector, Mike will bring strong and steady leadership at a time when the industry is experiencing unprecedented demand and tremendous technological breakthroughs, helping ensure America’s leading role on the world stage regarding aviation safety and innovation.” [9/7/23]

Kevin Burke, President and CEO, Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA): “The aviation industry is navigating multiple challenges presented by our industry’s ongoing recovery, changing customer demands, and mounting infrastructure needs. As Washington grapples with important policy discussions around FAA reauthorization and reducing flight delays, the FAA needs permanent leadership at the top. Mike Whitaker brings immense experience in aviation—including his tenure as the FAA’s Deputy Administrator— that will allow him to engage immediately in important policy, regulatory, and infrastructure funding priorities we continue to confront. We encourage the Senate to prioritize Whitaker’s confirmation, and we look forward to continued partnership with FAA as everyone works to ensure a safe, secure, and efficient air travel experience for all passengers.” [9/7/23]

Todd Hauptli, President & CEO, American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE): “Mike has broad experience advancing the cause of aviation both inside and outside of government and is highly regarded for his leadership abilities, dedication to the industry, and willingness to tackle difficult challenges. I am grateful for his willingness to return to government service. Permanent leadership at the agency is long overdue.” [Statement, 9/7/23]

George Novak National, President and CEO, Air Carrier Assn (NACA): “NACA commends the White House for nominating Michael Whitaker to be the next Federal Aviation Administration Administrator. As a [former commercial airline] pilot and deputy administrator of the FAA, Mr. Whitaker is extremely well-positioned to provide the leadership the agency needs to address several long-standing challenges facing the airline industry. Modernizing the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system, ensuring robust air traffic controller staffing levels – particularly in Florida, to reduce congestion and delays – and addressing recent safety issues, including a rise in runway incursions, are all critical issues needing immediate attention. We look forward to working collaboratively with Mr. Whitaker, DOT leadership, and other aviation stakeholders to ensure that we continue to have the safest, most efficient ATC system in the world.” [Statement, 9/7/23]

Ed Bolton, President and CEO, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA): “Mike Whitaker has long been an outspoken aviation safety advocate and champion of innovation in the industry, who demonstrated during his time as Deputy Administrator at the FAA that he is a proven leader who delivers results. We enthusiastically support his confirmation as FAA administrator.” [Statement, 9/7/23]

Faye Malarkey Black , CEO, Regional Airline Association (RAA): “We believe Michael is the kind of ‘roll up your sleeves’ leader that FAA needs to meet this moment. If he is confirmed, we look forward to cooperating on major industry challenges from protecting and evolving Safety Management System programs to advancing the world class pilot training standards.” [Statement, 9/7/23]



Official news published at https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/what-they-are-saying-diverse-leaders-applaud-president-bidens-nomination-michael-g

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