WASHINGTON — Greg Regan and Shari Semelsberger, President and Secretary-Treasurer of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issued this statement ahead of today’s scheduled Senate hearing to consider several nominations, including Michael Whitaker to be Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA):
“We urge the Senate to confirm Michael Whitaker to lead the FAA. As the nation’s largest transportation labor federation, we know what it takes for our dedicated aviation professionals and government partners to deliver America’s gold standard in flight safety. From improving the training and hiring pipeline for air traffic controllers to maintaining the 1,500 hour training rule for pilots, federal safety actions are essential contributions to America’s strong commercial flight safety record.
“The FAA is a vital partner in ensuring the safety of the flying public and the workers who serve them. Yet in the 18 months since the agency last had a confirmed leader, the industry has experienced safety challenges, flight disruptions, and staffing issues among air traffic controllers and other aviation safety professionals.
“The Administrator role is one of the most important safety jobs within a federal transportation agency and it must be held by a permanent, visionary leader who can bring continuity to the agency. Mr. Whitaker possesses unparalleled experience in the industry, from his service as an FAA deputy administrator to his role at United Airlines, and his commitment to public safety is unimpeachable. His experience in public service and private industry makes him uniquely qualified to build a successful coalition to resolve ongoing safety challenges, address the backlog of federal safety rules, and provide stability as the five-year reauthorization of the FAA is set to expire in just a few months.
“The FAA needs a permanent leader. As we work to improve the aviation industry for workers and passengers, we look forward to working with leaders like Mr. Whitaker and urge the Senate to confirm him as FAA Administrator.”