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White House nominates Michael Whitaker as FAA administrator

AOPA applauds move to fill key vacancy with seasoned aviation executive

Michael Whitaker, who has spent more than three decades in aviation leadership positions, has been nominated by the White House as the next administrator of the FAA.

Photo by Chris Rose.

The FAA has been without a permanent leader since Steve Dickson resigned in March 2022. The current acting administrator, Polly Trottenberg, has been in the position since June and is prohibited from serving in the role beyond October 25.

The role marks a return to the FAA for Whitaker, who served as the agency’s deputy administrator and chief NextGen officer from 2013 to 2016. He worked closely with then-Administrator Michael Huerta to run the world’s busiest, most complex, and safest airspace and air traffic control system.

“The aviation industry has had a significant need for a permanent leader for more than a year, and I am happy that Michael has been nominated for the role,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “Our close collaboration during his time as deputy administrator gave us the unmistakable sense that Michael knows aviation, he understands how the FAA operates, and he appreciates GA’s needs as a private pilot. I am confident that under Michael’s leadership, the FAA will address serious issues that have loomed over the agency and the aviation industry.”

Since January 2022, Whitaker has held senior leadership roles at Supernal, a U.S.-based mobility service provider that is developing an advanced air mobility electric aircraft and a supporting transit ecosystem. Whitaker also served as global head of policy at Hyundai Urban Air Mobility, and principal of his own aviation and aerospace consultancy after departing his first stint at the FAA. He began his career as an attorney for Trans World Airlines in New York and Washington, D.C., then spent 15 years at United Airlines in Chicago, where he served as senior vice president of alliances, international, and regulatory affairs.

Whitaker left United to become the group CEO of InterGlobe Enterprises, the holding company that founded, owns, and operates India's largest airline, IndiGo, among other travel-related businesses.

“We call on the Senate to confirm Michael as soon as possible so that, together, we can hit the ground running and address such serious issues as the nationwide shortage in designated pilot examiners, the need for more GA hangars, modernizing the FAA’s systems and infrastructure, more efficient airman and medical certification, and the need for fair, reasonable, and transparent fees at public-use airports,” Baker added. “Michael’s leadership will help ensure our nation continues to have the safest and most robust air traffic control system in the world.”

While at the FAA as deputy administrator, Whitaker earned his private pilot certificate as part of his commitment to fully understand aviation technology and the challenges of general aviation.

Alyssa J. Miller
Eric Blinderman
Senior Director of Communications
Eric Blinderman is AOPA’s Senior Director of Communications. Eric joined AOPA in 2020 after several years at leading marketing/communications agencies in New York and is looking forward to putting his newly minted private pilot certificate to work.
Topics: Advocacy, FAA Information and Services, People

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