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ALPA Calls for Michael Whitaker to be Named FAA Administrator

Union Prevails Upon U.S. Senate on Eve of Key Vote

Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) president Captain Jason Ambrosi issued the following statement in advance of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Wednesday, 18 October 2023 vote vis-à-vis the elevation of Michael Whitaker to the station of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator.

This is a critical moment to preserve American aviation’s role as the world’s safest air transport system, and Michael Whitaker recognizes that preserving our gold standard in aviation necessitates two, highly trained and well-rested pilots. The pilot training requirements that Americans depend upon to keep aviation safe continue to be threatened, and ALPA appreciates Michael's commitment to protecting our current pilot safety training requirements.

“The FAA deserves stable, long-term leadership to guide the safety and technological improvements that our system needs, and we urge the Senate to confirm Michael Whitaker as the next FAA Administrator.

Whitaker, an attorney, longtime aviation industry professional, and private pilot, served as deputy FAA administrator from 2013-2016—a role in which he headed-up the agency’s air traffic modernization efforts under the supplemental title Chief NextGen Officer. While no doubt ornamenting Whitaker’s CV, the air traffic modernization initiative has failed spectacularly of late to live up to its appellation.

Since 2020, Whitaker has toiled in the service of Supernal, the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) subsidiary of South Korean automotive giant Hyundai Motor Company. Currently, Whitaker serves the company in the capacity of chief operating officer.

Whitaker has served major U.S. airlines in a number of prominent roles, to include assistant general counsel for TWA, and a 15-year stint with United Airlines, during which he functioned as the Chicago-based air-carrier’s senior vice-president of alliances, international, and regulatory affairs. After leaving United, Whitaker was named Group CEO of InterGlobe Enterprises, the holding company for IndiGo, India’s largest airline.

While FAA deputy administrator, Whitaker stood up the agency’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Office, the first FAA organization dedicated to UAS operations in the National Airspace System.

If approved Michael Whitaker will succeed Stephen Dickson, the FAA’s last permanent administrator, who stepped down in March 2022; and interim administrators Billy Nolen and Polly Trottenberg, who sustained the agency—more or less—over a 17-month absence of long-term leadership.

FMI: www.alpa.org

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