Acting FAA chief Billy Nolen to step down: Report

 April 22, 2023

Billy Nolen, the acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), is stepping down. 

This is according to reports from the Wall Street Journal and Politico.

Nolen reportedly announced his departure in an internal memorandum that he distributed to agency employees on Friday.

The two outlets have separately gotten the opportunity to review this memo.

The details

Nolen's departure from the FAA is not immediate, but, apparently, on the horizon.

Politico reports: "Nolen, in the memo, said he told Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the White House that he will depart when a new FAA administrator is nominated 'this summer.'"

Politico goes on to report "a senior administration official who was granted anonymity to speak candidly" as saying that "Nolen is expected to leave the FAA sometime this summer no matter what the confirmation process looks like for his eventual replacement, though a departure date hasn’t been finalized yet."

As for why Nolen is leaving, in the memo, he said that he is doing so in order to spend more time with his family.

"I have given everything to this agency, and now it’s time to do the same for my family, who have sacrificed so much and supported me during my time at the FAA,” Nolen wrote.


It ought to be noted that Nolen is the acting head of the FAA, and that's because President Joe Biden and the White House have been struggling to find someone for the job.

Previously, Biden attempted to install Denver Airport CEO Phil Washington atop the FAA, but Washington withdrew from consideration after facing significant criticism from Republicans about his background. Since then, the White House has not nominated anyone else for the position.

According to reports, many would like to see Nolen nominated for the position. There have even been signs that Nolen would be able to survive the Senate confirmation process, as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has publicly voiced support for Nolen. But, Nolen has made it clear that he does not want the job.

It remains to be seen who will replace Nolen, and whether the replacement will be another temporary replacement or an actual nominee.

Buttigieg has released a statement on Nolen's anticipated departure, saying:

Billy is a tremendous leader, a true expert, and a dedicated public servant. I can speak for everyone at DOT in saying that his skill and expertise are a great asset to the department, and will continue to be as FAA prepares for its upcoming leadership transition.

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