The United States (US) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) hired Kyle deCant, who will serve as the agency’s first-ever senior labor policy advisor.
DeCant will be responsible for the “strategic planning on labor issues and advise the agency’s acting administrator and deputy administrator,” according to the FAA’s announcement. The former policy counsel for the US House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce (E&W) will be the first-ever executive within the FAA to “focus on these issues”.
“Kyle brings very strong legislative and policy experience to this position. He will be a great asset as we work with our labor partners daily to achieve our safety mission,” Katie Thomson, the Deputy Administrator at the FAA, said.
Previously serving at the US House of Representatives E&W committee, deCant helped with various labor legislation. Prior to his role on the committee, he worked as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and a law firm that is based in Washington D.C.
Over the past few years, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, the FAA has run into staffing issues, including the lack of Air Traffic Controllers. In March 2023, the FAA pleaded with airlines operating in the New York and Washington, D.C. areas, including at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), to reduce operations during the upcoming summer season due to staffing issues.
“Although the FAA continues to reduce the air traffic controller training backlog at many FAA air traffic facilities, staffing levels at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (N90) continue to be below targets,” the FAA’s statement read at the time.
In the latest FAA reauthorization bill, introduced by the US House of Representatives Transport and Infrastructure Committee (T&I), lawmakers aimed to address “growing workforce shortages, from pilots and mechanics to air traffic controllers,” Sam Graves, the Chairman of the T&I Committee said, when he House of Representatives passed the bill on July 20, 2023.