FAA appoints new air traffic chief

July 7, 2011

FAA Chief Counsel and acting Chief Operating Office David Grizzle has been appointed COO of the agency’s Air Traffic Organization, the FAA announced July 7.

A former Continental Airlines executive, Grizzle has been acting COO of the Air Traffic Organization since his predecessor Hank Krakowski resigned in April. The organization had faced criticism because of several incidents in which air traffic controllers fell asleep during their shifts. Grizzle has been chief counsel for the FAA since 2009, leading the agency’s 300-person legal team.

“We at AOPA look forward to working with David Grizzle in his new role as chief operating officer at the FAA,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “His experience and understanding of the issues affecting the aviation community, as well as his expertise in managing the ‘customer experience,’ make him an excellent choice to fill this vital role as the NextGen modernization process moves forward.”

Grizzle retired from Continental in 2008 after 22 years at the company. As senior vice president of customer experience, he led efforts to address deficits in product delivery and improve customers’ travel experience, the FAA said on its website. During a leave of absence from Continental, Grizzle served for 14 months with the U.S. Department of State in Kabul, Afghanistan, as attaché, senior advisor, and coordinator for transportation and infrastructure. In that position, he led the American reconstruction effort for aviation, roads, power, and communications, the FAA said.

“David is committed to transparency, accountability, and to building a safety culture that encourages collaboration. I am thrilled that he has agreed to accept this critical responsibility,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.

The Air Traffic Organization includes 38,000 of the FAA's total workforce of 48,000 employees, the FAA website notes.

"The Air Traffic Organization is involved in a once-in-a-generation transformation. I could not be more honored to be a part of the ATO team,” Grizzle said.