TUESDAY SEP 26, 2023
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President Biden Nominates Denver Airport CEO to Lead the FAA

President Biden Nominates Denver Airport CEO to Lead the FAA


Yesterday, the White House formally announced that Phil Washington, the Chief Executive Officer of Denver International Airport (KDEN/DEN), is President Biden's nominee to become the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This nomination is particularly historic as if the U.S Senate confirms Washington, he will be the first African American FAA Administrator. Washington replaces Steve Dickson who resigned in February amid overseeing the aftermath of the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes and lax oversight of Boeing.


President Joe Biden nominated Denver International Airport CEO Phil Washington to lead the FAA | Photo: Los Angeles Times/ TNS


Washington manages Denver International Airport, the largest airport in the United States by land area. In recent years, the airport has become one of the busiest in the world. In an interview with FOX 31 News in 2021, Washington stated that the airport expects to see over 73 million passengers in 2022, with annual numbers growing to 100 million passengers by 2030.


In the past, Washington has also served as the leader of the Los Angeles Country Metropolitan Transit Authority as well as the CEO of the Denver Regional Transportation District. 


However, this nomination comes at an extremely tumultuous time for the Aviation industry. Significant staffing shortages and bad weather have culminated to result in a plethora of flight cancellations across the United States. As a result of these flight cancellations, airlines have been forced to cut flights drastically, with United Airlines (UAL) terminating 50 daily services out of its hub in New York/Newark (KEWR/EWR) for the month of July.


Additionally, the FAA and aviation regulators across the globe are reeling from two deadly aircraft accidents of Boeing's 737 MAX. Although the Boeing 737 MAX has been approved to reenter American skies for over a year, the fact that aviation regulators were unable to fully oversee the development of Boeing's controversial Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) has led to significant backlash, as well as the implementation of new federal regulations that strictly control the development of new aircraft.


 If Washington is confirmed as FAA Administrator, he will oversee and regulate new aircraft development. Photo: Mark S. | AeroXplorer


Furthermore, it is important to recognize the mental health crisis among pilots in the United States. The FAA has implemented strict mental health regulations for American pilots. According to FlyingMag, "To attain a clear medical [certificate], pilots must report any health professional visits during the previous three years and disclose all existing physical and psychological conditions and medications...Certain medical conditions such as psychosis, bipolar disorder, and severe personality disorder automatically disqualify a pilot from obtaining an FAA medical certificate and prohibit them from flying...one of the most common types of mental illness today is depression. Of the six categories of depression medications, the FAA only permits one." These policies have resulted in increased pilot suicide, and advocacy groups hope that the new leadership will emphasize mental health.



The nomination of Phil Washington to lead the Federal Aviation Administration is historic. However, Washington's duties, should the US Senate confirm him, will be demanding as the aviation industry recovers from the deadly Boeing 737 MAX crashes, Boeing 787 manufacturing delays, staff shortages, and of course, the global COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in decreased passenger numbers.

Tejas Bhatia
Tejas is an aviation photographer based in the DFW Metroplex. He has been passionate about aviation and photography since he was young and has pursued these interests by planespotting professionally, founding his school’s photography club, and joining AeroXplorer, where he currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer. He strives to improve his photography skills by utilizing different editing platforms and learning from other photographers. Other than aviation and photography, Tejas has a passion for learning about Politics, Public Policy, and International Affairs. He is currently the Vice President of his school’s Model United Nations Delegation. You can view Tejas’ aviation photos on AeroXplorer as well as on his Instagram - @dtxjets.

Comments (1)

Jim Radcliffe Your story about the nomination of a new FAA administrator was irresponsible and uncalled-for. It exposed your biased reporting on the industry, and your liberal leanings. The story was NOT about Boeing or any delays or matters related to their recent challenges. You are clearly one the people who are intent on damaging the reputation of everyone and every organization you write about. You should be terminated.
442d ago • Reply

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