August 1, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
On July 31 the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved the nomination of FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta for a five-year term as chief of the agency. His nomination must still be approved by the full Senate.
Huerta’s nomination was approved by the committee on a voice vote. It was not immediately known when the full Senate might act on the nomination.
AOPA supported President Barack Obama’s nomination of Huerta, who has served as acting administrator since Dec. 5, 2011, following the resignation of his predecessor, Randy Babbitt. Previously, Huerta oversaw the NextGen air traffic control modernization initiative. In 2010 he underwent Senate confirmation to become the FAA’s deputy administrator.
When Huerta’s nomination to become FAA administrator was announced in March, AOPA President Craig Fuller congratulated Huerta and noted that the association “appreciated the attention he has given to the concerns of general aviation.”
In a committee hearing in June, members from both parties made statements of support for Huerta, who was questioned closely on subjects ranging from the administration’s proposal of a $100 aviation user fee to airline pilot fatigue, and the treatment of agency whistleblowers.
Huerta’s experience as a managing director of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, when he worked with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who was the chief executive of Salt Lake City games organizing committee, is seen strengthening his confirmation prospects in the full Senate.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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