Huerta confirmed as FAA head

Michael Huerta was confirmed by the Senate last week, amid dozens of presidential nominations approved by the chamber after weeks of quiet negotiations over the session-ending package. Huerta (shown at right) has served as acting administrator since the resignation of Randy Babbitt in December 2011. (Photo by Shahn Sederberg)

Ray LaHood, Secretary of the Department of Transportation said that Huerta has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and will continue to focus on enhancing the safety and efficiency of the largest aviation system in the world. "Ensuring the safety of the traveling public is our top priority, and I am confident that Michael will effectively lead our aviation system as we continue to move NextGen forward.”

Huerta will lead FAA for five years which will be a critical time for the FAA as the sprawling agency grapples with increasingly congested skies and moves away from an inefficient, point-to-point navigation system to NextGen, projected to save fuel and ease delays. Huerta was introduced to the FAA as point man for the retooling effort and Washington aviation groups have praised his ascension as a key to replacing decades-old aviation infrastructure.