The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and National Air Transport Association both issued statements on March 27 welcoming the Obama administration announcement that Randy Babbitt is the president’s choice to head the Federal Aviation Administration.
“AOPA welcomes the announcement of Randy Babbitt,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “I have known Randy Babbitt for more than 15 years, and I think he is an outstanding selection as our next FAA Administrator,” stated NATA President James K. Coyne.
“In a letter to the then-incoming President and in meetings with the transition team, AOPA said the new FAA Administrator needed to have technical and people-management skills, combined with an understanding of the aviation industry and the political acumen necessary to lead the organization as it faces multiple challenges, including the twin challenges of determining an efficient long-term funding strategy and transitioning to the NextGen satellite-based navigation system,” Fuller said. “Mr. Babbitt is a pilot, the former head of the Airline Pilots Association, and an advisor on air traffic control modernization, and AOPA looks forward to working with the new administrator once he has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.”
Coyne was a bit more effusive. “Randy knows full-well how important modernizing our air traffic control system is, so I look forward to working with him to accomplish this critical priority,” he said. Commenting on the importance of Babbitt and Congress working for approval of a long-term FAA reauthorization bill, Coyne added, “There is a lot of good intent on Capitol Hill to approve a long-term measure, finally. I am hopeful that, with Randy filling the Administrator slot, momentum will carry us over the hump towards passage of a bill that modernizes our air traffic control system, rejects user fees, and invests in airport infrastructure.”