President Joe Biden on Thursday nominated a new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator after roughly two years of airline delays, shutdowns and strains.
Michael G. Whitaker, a former FAA deputy administrator and former United Airlines executive, will take over as the FAA administrator pending approval by the U.S. Senate. On Tuesday, United Airlines requested the FAA issue a ground stop order on all of its aircrafts within the United States and U.S.-bound flights from Canada after a systemwide technology issue. (RELATED: Southwest Airlines Suffers Big Meltdown, Faces Blame For Nearly All Cancelled Flights)
“Michael G. Whitaker is currently the chief operating officer of Supernal, a Hyundai Motor Group company designing an electric advanced air mobility (AAM) vehicle,” the White House said in a statement. “In this role, Whitaker overseas [sic] all commercial and key business operations. Whitaker served as Deputy Administrator at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from 2013–2016. There, he brought industry and government together to drive the successful transition of the nation’s air traffic control system from radar to a satellite-enabled surveillance technology.”
Senate approval of Whitaker is not assured after Biden’s previous nomination for FAA administrator, Denver International Airport CEO Phil Washington, withdrew from the position following backlash from congressmen who worried Washington didn’t have enough aviation experience, Politico reported.
Since the pandemic, air travel in America has experienced many difficulties as airlines face a shortage of pilots and air traffic controllers, as well as management issues with unions, CNN reported. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg notified airlines in June that they would experience setbacks and delays unless they made modifications to withstand 5G wireless signal interference, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Biden administration announced in May that it was working on new regulations that would require airlines to compensate passengers who were affected by cancellations with meals and hotels.