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Deputy US Transportation chief expected to be FAA’s interim leader – sources


By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Deputy U.S. Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg is expected to be named Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) next interim leader, two sources told Reuters on Sunday.

The source cautioned that appointment wasn’t final and could change, the sources said. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.

Acting FAA administrator Billy Nolen is expected to leave the agency on Friday, officials told Reuters last week.

Trottenberg did not respond to a May 31 email from Reuters last Wednesday asking about a rumor that she could be tapped to take the interim job running the FAA.

The United States has faced serious questions about aviation safety after a series of close-call runway incidents this year and a computer outage in January that led to the first nationwide grounding of departing passenger airliners since September 2001.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating six runway incursion events since January including some that could have been catastrophic.

The U.S. has not had a major fatal U.S. passenger airline crash since February 2009. In March, the FAA said it was taking steps to improve air traffic control, convening a safety summit and issuing a safety alert.

Reuters earlier reported that Nolen is expected to take a position with electric air taxi firm Archer Aviation after he leaves the FAA.

Nolen said in a May 26 email to FAA staff that his “time at the FAA will come to an end in mid-June.”

Trottenberg has a long public sector career and previously served as New York City’s Transportation Commissioner, as senior USDOT policy official under President Barack Obama and as an aide in the U.S. Senate to Senator Charles Schumer.

In March, Denver International Airport CEO Phil Washington withdrew his nomination to serve as FAA administrator after Republican criticism. The White House has not yet named a new nominee.

The FAA, White House and Transportation Department did not respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Kanjyik Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Diane Craft and Lincoln Feast.)

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