Acting FAA administrator Billy Nolen plans to step down from his post this summer, once President Joe Biden presents a new nominee for the permanent administrator role.
The announcement, which Nolen made in a memo to his staff on Friday, means that the agency could be left with leadership vacuum as Congress debates FAA funding reauthorization ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline.
Nolen took the post of acting administrator after Steven Dickson stepped down from atop the FAA in March 2022. Last July, Biden nominated Denver International Airport CEO Phillip Washington to be the next administrator, but Washington ended his candidacy in March after it became apparent he lacked majority support from the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
No new nominee has been announced.
In his resignation memo, Nolen said the time has come to dedicate more time to his family. He touted achievements, including completing the majority of aircraft certification reform work and implementing more robust flight attendant rest rules.
“I’m immensely proud of what we accomplished together,” Nolen wrote.
His resignation is likely to ratchet the pressure for Biden and Congress to seat a permanent FAA administrator, especially amid questions about the safety of the U.S. aviation system, as well as air traffic controller shortages that have caused airlines to reduce schedules in the Northeast this summer.
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