President Biden announced on Thursday that he planned to nominate Michael G. Whitaker, who served as the No. 2 official at the Federal Aviation Administration during the Obama administration, to become the agency’s next permanent leader.
Mr. Whitaker currently serves as the chief operating officer for Supernal, a Hyundai Motor company that is developing air taxis. He was the F.A.A.’s deputy administrator from 2013 to 2016 and has also been an executive at United Airlines.
Why It Matters: The F.A.A. has lacked a permanent leader.
The F.A.A. has been without a permanent leader since Stephen Dickson, a former Delta Air Lines executive and an appointee of President Donald J. Trump, stepped down last year.
Mr. Biden’s first nominee for the post, Phillip A. Washington, the chief executive of Denver International Airport, withdrew from consideration in March after running into resistance in the Senate.
The failure of Mr. Washington’s nomination has prolonged the leadership void atop the agency. The F.A.A. official who served as acting administrator after Mr. Dickson’s departure, Billy Nolen, left the agency in June.
Polly Trottenberg, the deputy transportation secretary, has been serving as the F.A.A.’s acting administrator, but she will have to turn over the reins to another temporary leader in late October because of a federal law that limits how long she can run the agency on an acting basis.
What’s Next: The Senate will consider the nomination.
Mr. Whitaker’s nomination will go before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the panel where Mr. Washington’s nomination ran aground.
Mr. Washington had spent most of his career in the Army and at transit agencies, and Republicans senators painted him as unqualified to lead the F.A.A. But Mr. Whitaker has a long résumé in the aviation industry, so he is likely to fare better on that front. A lawyer by training, he learned to fly during his stint as the F.A.A.’s deputy administrator.