Dec 7, 2011
Following the resignation of Randy Babbitt, the chief’s post falls in the hands of Deputy Administrator Michael Huerta. It is likely that he will continue in the post through next year.
Unlike Babbitt, Huerta is said to “lack his predecessor's insider knowledge of the nation's airlines.” (HP). He has lead the FAA's NextGen effort moving forward its old air traffic control to one based on satellite technology.
Concerns have been expressed that Babbitt's departure could jeopardize several important safety efforts like new regulations of pilot schedules under way at the FAA, opposed by the airlines.
DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, known for his campaign against drunken driving, said he was "very disappointed" to learn of Babbitt;s address from a news.
Babbitt made a risky mistake. If he is convicted, he will lose his pilot’s license.
"People make mistakes. They get behind the wheel of the car when they shouldn’t, but humans, even FAA chiefs, do have lapses in judgment. ...While Babbitt’s alleged decision to drive under the influence made keeping his job untenable, his unwillingness to tell LaHood the hard realities in a time of crisis is an even bigger cause for concern,” writes a blogger.