ICYMI: From Labor and Industry Groups, to Consumer Advocates and Congressional Leaders, Support Rolls in for FAA Administrator Nominee Mike Whitaker

CEO of the Regional Airline Association: “We believe Michael is the kind of ‘roll up your sleeves’ leader that FAA needs to meet this moment”

WASHINGTON, DC– Last week, President Biden nominated Mike Whitaker to be Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Whitaker has 30 years of aviation experience. He knows how to manage large organizations and knows how to work in government and across the aviation community to get big things done. He is fully committed to aviation safety including protecting pilot training, preserving qualification regulations, and keeping at least two well-trained pilots on the flight deck. The FAA needs a confirmed Administrator and should move quickly to confirm Mike Whitaker. 

Highlights of what they’re saying: 

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS): “PASS looks forward to hearing from Mr. Whitaker at his confirmation hearing on the many challenges facing the FAA and his plans for leading the agency in the coming months and years. The union looks to build on its relationship with Mr. Whitaker, first established when he served as deputy administrator during the Obama administration. He brings a wealth of experience to the table—from his previous experience at the FAA, in the aviation industry and as a private pilot.” [Statement, 9/7/23] 

Mark Baker, President, Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA): “The aviation industry has had a significant need for a permanent leader for more than a year, and I am happy that Michael has been nominated for the role. Our close collaboration during his time as deputy administrator gave us the unmistakable sense that Michael knows aviation, he understands how the FAA operates, and he appreciates GA’s needs as a private pilot. I am confident that under Michael’s leadership, the FAA will address serious issues that have loomed over the agency and the aviation industry.” [Statement, 9/7/23] 

Chairwoman Maria Cantwell, U.S. 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] 

Chairman Sam Graves, U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee: “[Mr. Whitaker] has the experience and temperament to be an effective leader at a time when the agency faces many challenges and the aviation system is under continued stress. The safety and success of our Nation’s aviation system depends on long-needed stability at the FAA and on Congress finishing its work on a long-term reauthorization. Hopefully Mr. Whitaker’s nomination is a step in the right direction while we wait for the Senate to resume its reauthorization work.” [Statement, 9/8/23] 

Nicholas E. Calio, President and CEO, Airlines for America (A4A): “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): “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 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): “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, 2009-2013: “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): “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: “A former FAA Deputy Administrator who has spent decades in the aviation industry, Mr. Whitaker is eminently qualified for the role.” [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 Airlines: “Now more than ever, the FAA needs strong leadership… 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] 

Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA): “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. If confirmed, we look forward to working with Mr. Whitaker to maintain the highest aviation safety standards.” [Statement, 9/7/23] 

Dr. Hassan Shahidi, President and CEO, Flight Safety Foundation: “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] 

Pete Bunce, President and CEO, General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA): “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.” [Statement, 9/7/23] 

James Viola, President and CEO, Helicopter Association International (HAI): “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.” [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…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] 

William J. McGee, Senior Fellow for Aviation and Travel at the 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. 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.” [Statement, 9/7/23] 

GE: “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.” [Statement, 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): “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.” [Statement, 9/7/23] 


Official news published at https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/icymi-labor-and-industry-groups-consumer-advocates-and-congressional-leaders-support

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