Acting FAA chief confirmed as agency’s permanent leader

Michael Huerta addressed an FAA conference in September. Michael Huerta addressed an FAA conference in September. John Raoux/AP

The Senate confirmed Michael Huerta, the current acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, as the agency’s new chief during a session on Tuesday.

Huerta was approved by unanimous consent for a five-year term as FAA’s head. He has been serving as the acting administrator since December 2011, after the resignation of Randy Babbitt following drunk-driving charges. Huerta joined FAA in 2010 as the agency’s deputy administrator, and has been deeply involved in policy surrounding the federal government’s Next Generation Air Transportation System.

According to Politico, outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C, held up Huerta’s nomination over concerns regarding labor policies. In a statement released on Wednesday, Mike Perrone, the president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, applauded Huerta’s confirmation.

“Administrator Huerta’s dedication to advancing critical safety initiatives, increasing the efficiency of the national air space system and his willingness to incorporate the views of all stakeholders will be beneficial to ensuring the safest and most efficient aviation system in the world,” Perrone said.

Key aviation industry groups also commended Huerta’s confirmation. The National Air Transportation Association stated that Huerta’s experience “managing complex transportation challenges” would help in key endeavors like the implementation of NextGen.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Administrator Huerta on aviation initiatives," NATA President and CEO Thomas Hendricks said.

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