The United States Senate voted unanimously 98-0 on Tuesday to confirm Michael Whitaker to lead the Federal Aviation Administration, according to reports.
Whitaker’s confirmation comes after the FAA administrator position remained vacant for about 19 months following its former leader’s resignation in March 2022. Whitaker is the FAA’s former deputy administrator and most recently was the COO of Supernal, a division of Hyundai Motor Group.
The U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman issued a statement praising Whitaker’s confirmation.
“Mike Whitaker is a capable and tested aviation leader who will bring critical expertise to the FAA. The United States should have an air travel system that is not only safe, but also modern and efficient,” Freeman said. “Establishing permanent leadership at the FAA is a key step toward alleviating strain on the current system, meeting increasing air traveler demand and building an improved air travel experience for the future. U.S. Travel applauds the bipartisan confirmation and urges the Senate to quickly pass a long-term FAA reauthorization bill before the agency’s funding expires on December 31.”
President Joe Biden had nominated Whitaker after his first nominee, Denver International Airport CEO Phil Washington, failed to get approval from the Senate Commerce Committee, which unanimously passed Whitaker’s nomination through to the Senate floor last week.
Whitaker, of Vermont, now begins a five-year term heading an agency that is currently facing several challenges, including air traffic controller shortages, an increase in near collisions at some major airports, and calls for technology system upgrades.