One-time FAA Administrator
Najeeb Halaby (87), former CEO of PanAm and the Father of Jordan's
Queen Noor, has passed away. Halaby suffered congestive heart
failure and died Wednesday at his home in McLean, Va.
Halaby left more than a few interesting stories in his
passing... including his having nearly flown his biplane
into another aircraft carrying Will Rogers while attempting to
negotiate a landing--while he was still a teenager.
Halaby was a World War II naval aviator and reportedly the first
to make a transcontinental jet flight. In 1961, President Kennedy
appointed him to head the FAA--where stayed for four years. While
in the process of presiding over pending rule-making involving
sky-diving, Halaby went the extra mile and actually made a
parachute jump as part of his decision-making process. Halaby is
also known for his decision to desegregate US air terminals and his
championing of the development of the SST.
Halaby headed Pan Am for four years starting in 1969. He was
responsible for the introduction of the first fleet of Boeing 747s,
though Pan Am went into a money losing cycle that resulted in
frequent arguments with founder Juan Trippe before he left (not of
his own accord) in 1973. Halaby claimed that his refusal to lower
fares for flights on those larger aircraft, to have been a
Statement of FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey:
Today we mourn the loss of a great leader in aviation. Najeeb
Halaby, 87, died yesterday (July 2) in his McLean, Virginia,
As the FAA Administrator
from 1961 to 1965, Halaby used a collaborative approach to address
the new challenges aviation was facing. For example, right after
his appointment, he sent nearly 300,000 "Dear Fellow Airman"
letters to certified pilots, asking them to share their ideas.
Halaby was also known for his work ethic. He once said,
"…if you just work and try hard enough, you can make a
perfect flight, do a perfect job, make a correct policy."
From his career as a Navy test pilot, to his service at the FAA,
to his business leadership at Pan American World Airways, Halaby
broke new ground and helped guide our community in first century of
My condolences and thoughts go out to his family and