FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker
Michael Whitaker has announced his intention to leave his position as Deputy Administrator and Chief NextGen Officer effective June 30, 2016. He assumed the position, which requires Senate advice and consent, June, 2013. His term as CNO would have been effective until June, 2018.
Administrator Huerta remarked:
“Mike has been an invaluable partner in all this agency has accomplished over the last three years…His industry experience and business focus were invaluable in leading the deployment of NextGen, integrating drones into the airspace, and working with the general aviation community to make flying safer and more accessible.”
His resume included positions such as Group CEO — Travel, Technology and General Aviation Services, InterGlobe Enterprises Limited (parent of IndiGo), United Airlines as Senior Vice President, Alliances, International and Regulatory Affairs and Assistant General Counsel — International and Regulatory Affairs, Trans World Airlines. That experience brought considerable airline experience and international perspective.
During his time at 800 Independence, he earned his private license to better understand the GA world better. His responsibilities were broad as evidenced by these accounts of his activities:
- The FAA Deputy Administrator gives the GA Joint Steering Committee A Good Grade & its Future looks Great — What is GAJSC?
- FAA Deputy Administrator Highlights Fatigue Responsibilities; Implementation might Benefit from SMS process
- Chief NextGen Officer delivers positive speech at AEA, but omits mention of user costs/benefits
- ADS-B Summit ends and Stakeholders provide Feedback
- What does the FAA and Industry Commit to in the NextGen Priorities Joint Implementation Plan?
- FAA NextGen: Momentous 4 Short Term Goals and MITRE’s Assessment/Recommendations
- Two very different views on the viability of ADS-B and NextGen
- Four Positive Reports about NextGen Raise Hopes for Funding
- ATCA Speeches by Whitaker and Planzer point to Possible Agreement on NextGen Elements and Funding
- New FAA Leadership Team for NextGen Unveiled
(not in chronological order)
The loss of his leadership will be noticed and is untimely. First, the position of Assistant Administrator for NextGen just experienced its 3rd change in the last five years. Second, it is highly unlikely that the Obama Administration will either be able to convince someone to leave his/her current job at the end of the President’s eight years in Washington. Plus, since the CNO position carries a five year term (49 USC §106(s)), the Republican Senate would not allow a nomination to come for a vote.
The absence of a person in this position diminishes the ability of the Administrator to accomplish all on the FAA’s high level agenda. Mr. Whitaker has done much during his term and will be missed. Good luck in his next endeavor.