Key Republican backs Biden nominee to head FAA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A key Senate Republican said Thursday he plans to support the White House nominee to head the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as the agency addresses a series of near-miss incidents and air traffic controller staffing shortages.

Last month, President Joe Biden nominated Michael Whitaker, chief commercial officer for Supernal, a Hyundai company developing an electric air taxi, who served as a deputy FAA administrator under President Barack Obama, to head the agency that has been without a permanent head for 18 months.

“The FAA is in desperate need of independent leadership willing to challenge the status quo,” said Senator Ted Cruz, the top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee in a statement to Reuters. He said Whitaker “has expressly committed to focus on the FAA’s primary responsibility, which is ensuring the safety of our national aerospace.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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