Obama taps acting FAA chief to officially head agency

Tuesday - 3/27/2012, 9:26pm EDT

President Barack Obama has nominated Michael Huerta, the acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, to officially head the agency.

Michael Huerta. Photo: FAA.gov

Huerta, the deputy FAA administrator, has led the agency on an acting basis since December, when former FAA head Randy Babbitt resigned in the wake of a drunken driving arrest.

Babbitt was about half way through a five-year term when he stepped down.

Huerta was confirmed as the FAA deputy administrator in June 2010. As deputy administrator, he led the agency's effort to modernize its air traffic control system, known as NextGen.

Before joining the FAA, Huerta spent seven years at Affiliated Computer Services, eventually serving as the president of the Transportation Solutions Group.

Before that, he held senior positions throughout the 1990s in the Transportation Department.

He also served as the commissioner of New York City's Department of Ports, International Trade and Commerce in the late 1980s and as executive director of the San Francisco Port from 1989-1993. When Huerta first took over, the Associated Press called him a "well-regarded manager" but said he "lacks his predecessor's insider knowledge of the nation's airlines."

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