Michael Whitaker confirmed as new FAA head following unanimous US Senate vote

FAA secondary flight deck barriers
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Michael Whitaker was confirmed as the new head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after United States (US) Senators voted unanimously in support of him.  

Whitaker takes up the post as the FAA Administrator at a time of turbulence in the US aviation with near misses between aircraft seemingly increasing in 2023 and several system outages that have grounded hundreds of planes. 

Whitaker will fill one of the United States’ most prominent positions after the job role was left vacant for more than 18 months.  

President Biden-backed Whitaker was confirmed by a vote of 98 to 0 in the Senate, with support coming from both Democrats and Republicans.  

President Biden’s previous nomination for the post was the head of Denver International Airport (DEN), Phillip Washington.   

However, Washington was unable to gain support from Republican Senators, particularly Senator Ted Cruz, who claimed the nominee did not hold enough knowledge about aviation.   

“I commend the Senate for quickly confirming Mike Whitaker to lead the FAA. With his three decades of aviation experience, Mike has earned broad bipartisan support because it’s clear he has the expertise and disposition to successfully lead the agency from day one,” Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said.  

Whitaker will now serve a five-year term as the agency’s head, having previously been second-in-command between 2013 and 2016.  

“Mr. Whitaker is the right person at the right time to lead the FAA into the next generation of aviation. His sterling qualifications in the industry and robust experience as a former FAA Deputy Administrator will be invaluable as the FAA modernizes our nation’s aviation system and maintains the highest levels of safety across the industry. We congratulate Mr. Whitaker on his confirmation and look forward to continuing our positive working relationship with the FAA leadership team,” American Airline’s CEO Robert Isom said following the announcement.  

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