Senators put Randy Babbitt in the hot seat

In his confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee, FAA Administrator-designate Randy Babbitt got a taste of the challenges coming his way. By the looks of it, Babbitt has broad support and should be confirmed without any real trouble, but the Senators’ questions were telling in their own right. Some examples:

Sen. Frank Lautenberg on the NY/NJ airspace redesign: “Would you hold the implementation of the airspace redesign project until you see that the interested parties, who have value to contribute, will be included?”

Lautenberg on tower staffing: “If confirmed, can you assure us that the Newark tower will be staffed to the volume of performance that we require there?”

Sen. Johnny Isakson: “What are you going to do to expedite the next generation and the FAA, technology-wise?”

Sen. Byron Dorgan on standards among regional carriers: “Mr. Babbitt, how could they be enforced if you put a co-pilot on a plane flying into Buffalo, New York in the winter with icing who says on the cockpit recorder, ‘I’ve never flown in icing and am very nervous about this.’ That cannot possibly be a standard that is enforced by the FAA.”

Randy Babbitt’s prepared remarks are here, and the full Q&A transcript is here. You can also view the video webcast here.

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