President Biden Appoints New FAA Administrator

President Biden Appoints New FAA Administrator

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President Joe Biden has this week appointed a new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator, and it’s an interesting choice.

Phil Washington to become FAA administrator

Phil Washington has been appointed by President Biden to lead the FAA. For the past year, the 64-year-old has been the CEO of Denver International Airport, and for six years prior to that he was the CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Washington will be replacing Steve Dickson, who was the previous FAA administrator. He resigned in February 2022, roughly halfway through his term, citing personal reasons. Dickson was a former Delta Air Lines pilot, and had been appointed by President Trump in 2019. Since this spring, Billy Nolen, the FAA’s safety chief, has been the acting administrator.

Washington’s appointment marks an interesting shift in direction for the FAA. The previous FAA administrator had the background of being an expert on aviation, as a lifelong pilot. Meanwhile the new FAA administrator is more of an expert on the business and airport operations side of the aviation industry.

Both are of course useful skillsets, and I don’t think one is necessarily better than the other. The aviation industry has certainly faced its fair share of operational issues in recent years, so maybe someone with more of a background like Washington’s is a good pick.

Washington has a lot of experience with airports

The new FAA administrator has his work cut out for him

I certainly don’t envy the job of FAA administrator at a time like this:

  • The FAA needs to rebuild trust with the public, after all we learned about how cozy Boeing and the FAA were when it came to the initial certification of the Boeing 737 MAX; this all came to light after two of the jets crashed
  • The FAA is now in a tough position when it comes to certifying new aircraft, as the FAA obviously wants to show that it’s doing its job with certifying new planes; we’re especially seeing this with the Boeing 777X, which has been delayed by several years
  • The FAA has to deal with staff shortages across the aviation industry, including among air traffic controllers, given the lack of reliability there has been
  • Then there’s the whole issue of how unreliably airlines have been operating, making many question whether the government should get involved in this

Good luck to Washington — he’ll need it!

Washington will oversee certification of the Boeing 777X

Bottom line

Phil Washington has been appointed the new FAA administrator by President Biden. If confirmed, Washington will have a lot of work to get done, between aircraft certification issues, and the general operational challenges the airline industry is facing.

This does mark an interesting shift compared to the previous administrator. While the previous administrator had the background of being a pilot, the new administrator has the background of working at airports for years. I think the different perspective could be useful.

What do you make of Washington’s appointment as FAA administrator?

Conversations (16)
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  1. FlyerDon Guest

    I’m glad they didn’t pick another pilot. They think they know everything and they really don’t like to work.

  2. Capt Mike Cowan Guest

    While I am sure this appointee is a talented and trained administrator, it's always been my opinion that the head of the FAA should know how to fly a plane. But that's just my 48 years of professional aviating talking. I have Flown every thing from a Cennsa 150 to the Douglas DC-10 and the Airbus A320. Not to mention the countless students I have trained as a certified flight instructor since the 70s. As well as writing 2 PART 135 Air Taxi operations manuals.

    1. Rick D Guest

      Agreed. An Aviation Administrator should really understand what it takes to fly. And the only way his happens is if they are an experienced pilot who has flown within the US National Airspace under instrument flight rules.
      (And also an understanding that although a huge majority of passengers are on the airlines, the majority of aircraft are not airliners).

  3. D3kingg Guest

    We need more transparency between airlines and passengers in regards to delays and cancellations how the process works. Passengers need to be kept in the loop and airlines need to communicate via text , phone , and email within a reasonable time frame.

    It should go without saying but passengers need to arrive at the airport earlier and expect delays up front.

    We need airline logistics and scheduling operations to be done with...

    We need more transparency between airlines and passengers in regards to delays and cancellations how the process works. Passengers need to be kept in the loop and airlines need to communicate via text , phone , and email within a reasonable time frame.

    It should go without saying but passengers need to arrive at the airport earlier and expect delays up front.

    We need airline logistics and scheduling operations to be done with precision. Proper aircraft utilization. Last minute aircraft swaps on routes depending on the load factors for the day. Some planes have 191 seats while some only have 156.

    US Airlines should allow reciprocal passenger transfers on a temporary basis in the event of mass cancellations.

  4. Sel, D. Guest

    I just hope instead of things like reliable operations and safety he focuses on what is truly plaguing the industry - problems with diversity, equity, and inclusion.

  5. George Romey Guest

    At least this person has experience in the industry they're suppose to be managing.

    1. Bob Guest

      Ha, if by experience you mean 10 months then sure. Though I guess it’s more than mayor Pete.

    2. DEE Guest

      LOL have u been to the DIA recently??It is more of a ZOO than before!! It is a royal mess to get thru securoty and take the train to your gates....maybe he willbe better at the FAA????????????

    3. Zach B Guest

      Uh, that's because they have construction that's been going on for many years now at this point in the Great Hall of Jeppesen Terminal. Along with that it's always had issues with security. The current setup was never designed for it.

  6. BenjaminGuttery Gold

    The FAA should be focused on 2 things: Getting travel issues smoothed out and Getting Planes certified for EXPORT. We are losing to Airbus and that's SAD.

    1. D3kingg Guest

      @BenjaminGuttery

      Airbus has factory plants in the US

    2. XPL Diamond

      It is not the taxpayers' duty to either (1) fix the industry's operational problems or (2) subsidize Boeing.

  7. Heck Farr Guest

    Biden's choice makes a lot of sense for the current administration.
    Denver Airport has access to the Secret Underworld where the lizard race oversees the WEF and other New World Order syndicates. And now, Biden can get invited to their ice cream parties.

    1. JH Guest

      Will there be Native American chanting in the FAA's DC headquarters to ward off the evil spirits?

    2. DEE Guest

      good one... denver airport is a mess... for years and now worse

  8. Steve Diamond

    Shocked Biden or any politician for that matter didnt select someone with no actual transportation experience as a favor, like he did with Buttigieg. This is good news!

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

XPL Diamond

It is not the taxpayers' duty to either (1) fix the industry's operational problems or (2) subsidize Boeing.

3
Steve Diamond

Shocked Biden or any politician for that matter didnt select someone with no actual transportation experience as a favor, like he did with Buttigieg. This is good news!

3
D3kingg Guest

@BenjaminGuttery Airbus has factory plants in the US

2
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