Welcome Mr. Deputy Administrator

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ARTICLE: Airline executive appointed as FAA deputy administrator


(Your office is behind the left tree on the 10th floor)

It’s about time that Administrator Huerta had some help. Yesterday the White House announced, along with a few other matters, that Michael G. Whitaker will occupy the office that literally connects to his boss’ suite through a back door. Frankly, it’s about time for the burden of managing 50,000 employees and 15 direct reports is shared. Extensive knowledge of the air carrier business should be of value.

The Statute defines the position’s requisite skills and duties. Essentially his scope of work as the Administrator’s “first assistant,” the Deputy is delegated (almost on a daily basis) to move the FAA’s agenda.

The #1 matter before the FAA is the implementation of NextGen. Mr. Whitaker, whose resume includes extensive time with US and a foreign carrier (TWA, United and Indigo in staff positions), may become a primary link to that sector in convincing them of the technology/infrastructure investment. There is a lot of doubt that some of the proposed “bells and whistles” provide value meriting the airlines’ investment in their aircraft equipment and the expenditure of the ticket tax funds.

Recent decisions on FAA bonuses, on which the Wall Street Journal recently commented, would have been the sort of task which the Deputy would handle. There are plenty more for sure.

There are major tasks awaiting Mr. Whitaker on day 1 in his new job. Good luck!

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