Michael Whitaker Confirmed as FAA Head Amidst Safety and Staffing Concerns

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved President Joe Biden's nominee, Michael Whitaker, to lead the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This comes as the FAA grapples with issues related to near-miss safety incidents and air traffic control staffing shortages. The FAA has been without a permanent leader for over 18 months following the withdrawal of a previous nominee.


Whitaker, who previously served as the deputy FAA administrator, is expected to assume his new role as early as Wednesday, according to Katie Thomson, the current second-in-command at the FAA. Whitaker has emphasized the need for the agency to address the ongoing shortage of air traffic controllers and reduce near-miss airplane incidents to zero. The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating seven runway incursion events that have occurred since January, including a near collision between a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 and a Cessna Citation 560X business jet in San Diego. Thomson revealed that the FAA is anticipating a report from an independent safety review team appointed in April to explore ways to enhance air safety following a series of close calls.

Save Money 728x90

In September, the FAA announced its decision to extend reductions in minimum flight requirements at busy New York City-area airports until October 2024. Staffing at New York Terminal Radar Approach Control is currently only at 54% of recommended levels, leading to increasing frustration among U.S. airlines regarding air traffic control staff shortages. A government watchdog reported in June that critical air traffic facilities are facing significant staffing challenges, which pose risks to air traffic operations. To compensate for these shortages, controllers at several facilities are working mandatory overtime and six-day weeks.


One of the challenges Whitaker will confront is the certification of a new Boeing 737 MAX model. Whitaker has stated that he was not involved in the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX during his tenure as deputy FAA administrator. The aircraft was grounded globally for 20 months following two fatal 737 MAX crashes that resulted in 346 deaths. Boeing is currently awaiting FAA certification for the 737 MAX 7, a smaller version of their best-selling aircraft. However, Boeing announced in July that the first delivery of the MAX 7 has been postponed until 2024.

ANJ Hotels

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

1 / 3
2 / 3
3 / 3
EN - 728x90