Biden Names No. 2 Official at Transportation Department to Be F.A.A.’s Acting Leader

The move comes after Mr. Biden’s nominee to lead the F.A.A., Phillip A. Washington, withdrew from consideration in March.

Mr. Washington, the chief executive of Denver International Airport, had faced criticism from Republican senators and struggled to win support to be confirmed. The F.A.A. has been without permanent leadership since Stephen Dickson, a former Delta Air Lines executive and an appointee of President Donald J. Trump, stepped down in 2022.

Ms. Trottenberg, 59, succeeds Billy Nolen, who led the F.A.A. on an interim basis for over a year and had previously been the agency’s top safety official. Mr. Nolen announced in April that he planned to step down. Ms. Trottenberg’s designation as acting administrator is effective immediately, the agency said.

“I am grateful to Billy for his service during one of the most challenging and dynamic times in aviation, and I have full confidence in Polly’s steady hand during the search for a permanent administrator,” Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, said in a statement.

Ms. Trottenberg is taking the helm of the F.A.A. during a tumultuous period for both the agency and the U.S. air travel system.

During the past year, pilots have narrowly avoided collisions at U.S. airports on multiple occasions, and travelers have suffered through a raft of delays and cancellations. Southwest Airlines had an operational meltdown around Christmas, and in January, problems with a critical F.A.A. system forced flights to be grounded nationwide.

This year is also an important one for the F.A.A. because Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to reauthorize the agency, giving lawmakers an opportunity to shape its programs and budget for the coming years.

Ms. Trottenberg has been the Transportation Department’s No. 2 official for most of the Biden administration — a fractious time for the relationship between U.S. airlines and the federal government.

Mr. Buttigieg has called on the airlines to provide better customer service, such as by eliminating extra fees for families to sit together on plane trips. At the same time, airlines have complained about air traffic controller shortages and unfair competition from certain Asian and Middle Eastern airlines on long-haul routes.

Previously, Ms. Trottenberg served under Mayor Bill de Blasio as New York City’s transportation commissioner from 2014 to 2020. In that role, she oversaw the city’s Vision Zero program to reduce traffic fatalities, and she expanded bike and bus lanes.

She was also a top transportation official in the Obama administration, serving as an assistant secretary at the Transportation Department and then as the department’s under secretary for policy. She has worked as a Senate aide as well.

It is unclear how long Ms. Trottenberg will serve as the F.A.A.’s acting administrator. Mr. Biden has not said when he intends to put forward a new nominee to lead the agency, and the White House did not immediately respond on Thursday to an inquiry about its plans.

Do you work in aviation? The Times wants to hear your story. Please share your experiences with us below, and you can learn more about our reporting here. We especially want to hear from people who work for (or used to work for) airports or airlines, or who are part of government agencies that help keep the aviation sector running. We won’t publish any part of your submission without your permission.

Checkout latest world news below links :
World News || Latest News || U.S. News

Source link

Back to top button