Partisan politics and gridlock are something we are all too familiar with in Washington, especially at the end of a presidential election year. But when it comes to the stability of our aviation system and the enormous impact it has on our economy, there is no time for political brinksmanship. This is why I have joined aviation union leaders and many in the industry to call for the swift Senate confirmation of Michael Huerta to be the next Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
President Obama made a wise decision to nominate Mr. Huerta as administrator last spring. He has proven himself as a capable leader, one focused on aviation innovation, modernization and safety. But unfortunately, Huerta’s nomination, like others before him, is being held up unnecessarily.
Both Democrats and Republicans have spoken publicly about Huerta’s competence as well as the important role the administrator plays in moving us to a Next Generation (NextGen) air traffic control system. With about 24 million people about to take to the skies this week —and the busy December holiday period around the corner —let’s hope Senators will find the will to confirm his appointment.
As Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said of Huerta yesterday: “He has been a steady hand at the controls of an agency that is making very positive strides forward in serving the public. It is time the Senate moves to approve his nomination.” Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) President Lee Moak called Huerta’s nomination vital to providing “stability and direction as we undertake a massive upgrade to our nation’s air traffic control system.”
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), I said that I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with Huerta while he has been acting administrator, and previously during his tenure at the DOT. Huerta has always been strategic, steady and focused on the mission. The FAA needs exactly his style of leadership during this critical time in aviation.
Time to move forward. Time for Michael Huerta to be America’s next FAA Administrator.