After completing the first five-year term as FAA Administrator in history, Jane Garvey will step down on August 4–and there will likely be no deputy waiting in the wings to bridge the gap to her successor. Monte Belger, who has been acting deputy administrator for several years, said he will retire July 31 after more than 30 years with the agency.
This is a particularly critical time for the FAA, which is also trying to attract a COO to run its new ATC service performance-based organization (PBO) mandated by Congress several years ago. In addition, it is about one-third of the way through an ambitious operational evolution plan (OEP) to modernize the entire ATC system.
The other wild card facing the next FAA Administrator is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Although both are part of the DOT, many in the aviation industry and Congress believe that TSA already has too much control over, and too little knowledge about, the nation’s air transportation system.
Names continue to fly as to possible successors to Garvey, who came into the position almost five years ago with little aviation experience, but who is leaving with generally high marks from most sectors of the industry. A number of industry observers were reluctant to discuss possible candidates for fear of influencing the selection process.