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August 22, 2007

Strong hand needed now for FAA, aviation leaders say

General aviation and the airlines don’t agree on the FAA funding issue, but when it comes to choosing an FAA administrator, all of aviation is flying in formation.

Aviation leaders across the board have joined in a letter to President Bush, urging him to quickly appoint a new individual to run the FAA for five years when Marion Blakey’s term expires on September 13.

The leaders said that there is a “vital need to nominate a strong individual who can be confirmed as the next administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. Our nation cannot afford a recess appointee as we face the time-critical challenge of modernizing our nation’s aviation infrastructure.”

More than a decade ago, AOPA lobbied for a five-year fixed term to get away from the revolving door of short-term leaders who were tied to the political process and never in office long enough to learn enough to truly run the agency. Blakey is the second FAA administrator to serve a full term.

“We need an FAA administrator who understands aviation from the grassroots to flight levels, who is a strong executive and a visionary leader,” said AOPA President Phil Boyer. “At this critical point, we cannot afford to drift off course with an interim hand on the controls.

“The president cannot allow this appointment to slide or be consumed by partisan politics.”

August 22, 2007