Coalition of Aviation Groups from Across the Nation Oppose Phil Washington’s FAA Nomination
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter to U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a diverse, nationwide coalition of aviation organizations representing aviation industry workers, pilots, airport officials, and aviation enthusiasts voiced their strong opposition to the nomination of Phil Washington to serve as Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The letter highlights Mr. Washington’s lack of deep aviation experience, especially in aviation safety.
The organizations signing the letter include, among others, the Arizona Pilots Association, Montana Pilots Association, Minnesota Pilots Association, New Mexico Pilots Association, Michigan Business Aviation Association, Alaska Airmen’s Association, New Hampshire Pilots Association, Iowa Aviation Association, Idaho Aviation Association, Arkansas General Aviation Association, Kentucky Pilots Association, Nebraska Aviation Trades Association, and Florida Aero Club.
In the letter, the coalition of organizations write:
“Mr. Washington simply is not the right person to lead the FAA at this critical juncture. In recent months, the flying public’s confidence in the aviation sector has been shaken by several alarming near-misses and FAA failures. Furthermore, the FAA must have a leader who has the experience needed to help with a looming FAA reauthorization. This is not the right time to confirm as FAA Administrator someone who lacks deep aviation experience, particularly in aviation safety, and will require on-the-job training.
“Being FAA Administrator requires a substantial understanding and appreciation for the policies affecting not just large airlines or aircraft manufacturers, but also the issues facing numerous other aviation stakeholders, including business aviation companies, rural airports, general aviation pilots, and aircraft parts manufacturers just to name a few. FAA employees have technical knowledge and expertise; so should their leader.
“That has generally been the position of Congress, too, which is why federal law requires the FAA Administrator to “have experience in a field directly related to aviation.” (49 U.S.C. § 106(c)(3)). The FAA Administrator is not supposed to be a political appointment. Rather, it is supposed to be someone with strong aviation expertise. Mr. Washington, however, is not a pilot, is not an air traffic controller, has never worked for an airline, has never worked for an aircraft manufacturer or company in the aerospace supply chain, and has never previously worked at the FAA. At his recent confirmation hearing, Mr. Washington was unable to answer relatively basic aviation questions, including about safety and airports.
“The FAA has often been called the gold standard for international aviation safety. As aviation stakeholders, we value the FAA’s reputation and root for its success. That is why it gives us no pleasure to oppose Mr. Washington’s nomination[…]”
To read the full letter, click HERE.