Babbitt Confirmed as FAA Administrator

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Randy Babbitt has been confirmed for a five-year term as Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, which overseas the airline industry and the emerging commercial space sector.

Babbitt, who was most recently Chairman and CEO of Eclat Consulting, has more than 40 years of experience in aviation. He was a pilot for Eastern Airlines for 25 years and then served as President and CEO of the U.S. Airline Pilots Association and as a Presidential appointment on the National Commission to Ensure a Strong Competitive Airline Industry.

His official Eclat biography reads:

In his capacity as a specialized aviation and labor consultant, Babbitt has been instrumental in advising both airlines and labor unions throughout complex restructuring initiatives and negotiations. He also has been called upon by numerous clients to analyze and explain industry economic issues.

Babbitt, a Presidential appointee to the FAA Management Advisory Council, has helped direct and achieve significant improvements in aviation safety and influence regulatory policy in critical areas of the industry. He was recognized by Aviation Week & Space Technology with the Laurels Award for outstanding achievement in the field of Commercial Air Transport.

In 2008 Babbitt was named by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters to an independent review team of aviation and safety experts tasked with evaluating and crafting recommendations to improve the FAA’s implementation of the aviation safety system and its culture of safety. In a report entitled “Managing Risks in Civil Aviation: A Review of the FAA’s Approach to Safety,” the team provided detailed recommendations to the FAA across the areas of Airworthiness Directives, Voluntary Disclosure Programs, the culture of the FAA, safety management systems, and information technology and the role of FAA inspectors.

Babbitt’s confirmation won praise from the Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade group that represents most of the nation’s airlines:

“We heartily congratulate Administrator Babbitt on his confirmation and look forward to working with him and Department of Transportation Secretary LaHood in moving to rapidly implement the overdue modernization of our country’s air traffic management system. With the right leadership, we know we can begin to see real benefits from NowGen/NextGen within a few years,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May. “Administrator Babbitt’s deep understanding of aviation matters and his willingness to tackle these issues head-on will enable the United States to continue to operate the safest – and become the most efficient – system of transportation in the world, and foster a healthy and competitive airline industry.”

Aerospace Industry Association President and CEO Marion Blakey also praised the decision:

We are delighted that the Senate has unanimously confirmed Randy Babbitt as FAA Administrator. With years of aviation experience as a pilot, labor negotiator and safety expert, he will make an excellent administrator. Mr. Babbitt has said that modernization of the air transportation system is a priority and we know that he will hit the ground running on this important issue. We are looking forward to working with him and offer our warmest congratulations.