LAS VEGAS – The National Business Aviation Association is again encouraging the Senate to approve Michael Whitaker as the permanent head of the Federal Aviation Administration.
President Joe Biden nominated the veteran aviation professional for the post last month. He now needs the Senate’s OK.
Whitaker, who the White House pointed out has 30 years of aviation experience, served as the FAA’s deputy administrator during the Obama Administration. He currently serves as chief operating officer at Hyundai’s Supernal, developing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles.
“Throughout his career, Mike Whitaker has repeatedly proven himself as a leader who champions safety and innovation,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “We enthusiastically welcome the approval by the committee and fully support his confirmation by the full Senate as FAA administrator.”
If confirmed, Whitaker – an attorney and private pilot – would be returning to lead the agency where he previously served as deputy FAA administrator from 2013-2016.
“He knows how to work in government and across the aviation community to get big things done,” the White House said in a Sept. 7 statement announcing Whitaker’s nomination. “The FAA needs a confirmed Administrator—and Mike Whitaker is the right person for the job.”
Whitaker would take over the FAA’s top job from Polly Trottenberg, who was appointed acting administrator in June. She was preceded in the acting position by Billy Nolen, who served from April 2022 to June 2023. The FAA has not had a full-time, Senate-confirmed administrator since Stephen Dickson left the post in March 2022. He also was preceded by an acting FAA chief, Daniel Elwell, who served in the role for a little over 18 months from January 2018 to August 2019.
In addition to his work at the FAA and Supernal, Whitaker has served as assistant general counsel at TWA. He later led United Airlines as senior vice president of alliances, international and regulatory affairs. Following that, Whitaker performed a leadership role as group CEO at InterGlobe Enterprises, the holding company for IndiGo, India’s largest airline.