Served As Pilot, Union President, Aviation Consultant, Advisory
The president of the world's largest pilots union Friday
the Obama administration's nomination of Capt. J. Randolph
Babbitt as the next FAA Administrator, calling
him "a powerful leader who promises to direct the FAA with staunch
determination and a deep understanding of the aviation
"I speak for ALPA's more than 52,000 airline pilots in welcoming
this news as critical progress to ensure that the US air
transportation system sets the world standard for safety and
efficiency now and in the future," said Capt. John Prater, ALPA's
president. "Capt. Babbitt's decisive leadership will position the
FAA to take aggressive action to modernize our country's antiquated
airspace in the face of air traffic demand that is sure to escalate
as the economy improves.
"Capt. Babbitt knows what it's like to serve as the pilot in
command of an airliner and is intimately familiar with all aspects
of the regulatory and industry framework," said Prater. "He will
develop a flight plan to guide the FAA into the future."
Babbitt began his career as a pilot with Eastern Airlines, and
flew for the carrier for more than 25 years. In two terms as
president of ALPA, he helped to direct and achieve important
improvements in aviation safety and to influence policy in other
critical areas of the industry and its operation.
In 1993, Babbitt served the country as a Presidential appointee
for the National Commission to Ensure a Strong Competitive Airline
Industry. He was also a Presidential appointee to the FAA
Management Advisory Council, created by the FAA Reauthorization Act
Babbitt left the Airline Pilots Association to found Eclat
Consulting in Reston, Virginia, which provided economic support for
regulatory, legislative, and business issues in aviation. The
partners and staff of Eclat joined Oliver Wyman's global Aviation,
Aerospace & Defense practice in September, 2007.
Since joining Oliver Wyman, Babbitt's client work has focused
mainly on advising airlines and labor unions throughout complex
restructuring initiatives and negotiations.
"Randy's understanding of the interaction among the regulatory,
safety, labor, and financial aspects of the aviation sector is
unrivaled," said Roger Lehman, head of Oliver Wyman's aviation
practice. "It's good to see his expertise tapped for such a high
level of public service."
Peter Walsh, who heads all transportation and manufacturing
practices at Oliver Wyman, added, "While we are disappointed to be
losing one of our key partners, it's clear that Randy is the right
person for the job at the right time. Randy and this administration
will advance aviation industry oversight and the development
objectives of the FAA."
In 2008, Babbitt was named by then-US Secretary of
Transportation Mary E. Peters to a blue-ribbon independent review
team, tasked with evaluating and crafting recommendations to
improve the FAA's implementation of the aviation safety system and
its culture of safety. The panel provided detailed recommendations
to the FAA in the areas of Airworthiness Directives, Voluntary
Disclosure Programs, the culture of the FAA, safety management
systems, and information technology and the role of FAA