Randy Babbitt, who attended the University of Georgia and the University of Miami, began his aviation career as a pilot for Eastern Airlines. He flew for more than 25 years, and is a past President of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).
Babbitt must now be confirmed for the FAA Administrator post by the U.S. Senate.
UPDATE: The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) just issued the following statement regarding Randy Babbitt's nomination as FAA Administrator:
The president of the world’s largest pilots union today heralded 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 industry.”
“I speak for ALPA’s more than 52,000 airline pilots in welcoming this news as critical progress to ensure that the U.S. 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.”
Babbitt’s keen understanding of the airline industry is rooted in his experience as an airline pilot, union president, aviation consultant, and a member of numerous government and industry advisory committees. He began his career with Eastern Airlines and served two terms as president of ALPA. 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 of 1996.
In 2008, Babbitt was named by then U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters to an independent review team of aviation and safety experts tasked with evaluating and crafting recommendations to improve the FAA’s implementation of the aviation safety system and its safety culture.
“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.”
ALPA is the world’s largest non-governmental safety organization. “ALPA’s leaders and hundreds of safety representatives eagerly await the opportunity to roll up our sleeves alongside Capt. Babbitt and his team and get down to the business of moving our aviation system forward for the benefit of all who depend on it,” concluded Prater.