LEE'S SUMMIT, MO., March 28, 2012 -- President Barack Obama has nominated Michael Huerta to serve a five-year term as administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration. Huerta has served as acting chief of the agency since December 2011, following the arrest of former FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt for driving while intoxicated. He was elevated to the post by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood following Babbitt's arrest.
The nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Huerta did not come to the FAA with an aviation background. He previously served as chief of staff of the Department of Transportation and associate deputy secretary in the department's intermodalism office. He also served as the managing director of transportation communication for the local organizing committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition, he was commissioner of the New York City Department of Ports and executive director at the Port of San Francisco.
"While somewhat surprised at the swiftness of the nomination, we appreciate the fact that the Obama administration recognizes the need to name a new FAA administrator now rather than later," said Paula Derks, AEA president. "There are too many challenging issues in the immediate future, including NextGen implementation and the UAV mandate in 2015, to delay appointing a permanent administrator to lead the agency."