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White House officially appoints new FAA chief

Whitaker, whose impending nomination was first announced by POLITICO, must now be considered by the Senate before it can be confirmed. Thursday, the Texas senator. Ted Cruzthe top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee that will review Whitaker’s nomination, has been mostly critical of Biden’s previous nominee Washington.

“I think it’s shameful that the Biden administration delayed appointing an administrator for the FAA for so long and wasted an awful lot of time appointing someone who was completely unqualified to do this. work,” said Cruz, who with Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) were Washington’s main antagonists in the Senate. “We will assess him on his merits based on his credentials.”

On Thursday, Wicker objected, saying he didn’t have “a statement at this point.”

The senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), chair of the Senate Committee on Commercial Aviation, said she hasn’t spoken with Whitaker yet “so I’ll hold off judgment until then, but it’s good to have a candidate – the FAA has been without leadership for a long time”. too long.”

Whitaker already enjoys a cavalcade of industry support.

Nicholas Calio, president and CEO of the airlines business group Airlines for America, called for a “prompt review” of Whitaker’s appointment, saying Whitaker had “extensive experience” and “a deep understanding” of the issues facing the company. agency faces.

Other industry groups, including the Regional Airline Association and the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International, as well as unions like the Association of Flight Attendants, also supported the nomination.

Whitaker is currently the chief operating officer of Supernal, Hyundai’s electric aircraft spin-off. Whitaker previously served as deputy administrator of the FAA from 2013 to 2016, where he oversaw the transition to satellite-based air traffic control technologies.

He also worked as Group CEO of InterGlobe Enterprises, India’s largest travel conglomerate and operator of its largest airline, IndiGo, and spent 15 years at United Airlines, working on business alliances and joint ventures, international and regulatory affairs and much more. He also served as Assistant General Counsel for International and Regulatory Affairs at Trans World Airlines. He is a private pilot.

Hannah Pinski contributed to this report.