Blakey’s Exit Strategy Is Spelled AIA

 - August 22, 2007, 10:34 AM

The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) announced yesterday that FAA Administrator Marion Blakey will become the trade group’s president and CEO when she leaves the FAA at the end of her five-year term on September 13. She will step into that role on November 12. She will succeed current AIA president and CEO John Douglass, who announced his retirement several months ago. He has led AIA since September 1998 and will remain with the association through December 31 to provide counsel and ensure a smooth transition. Before being named FAA Administrator in September 2002, Blakey served as chairman of the NTSB. As head of the FAA, she has overseen the safest period for air travel in U.S. history and is a tireless safety advocate on the international aviation stage. But Blakey has come under severe criticism from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association for her handling of the new union contract, which she unilaterally enacted last year after declaring an impasse in negotiations. She has also been the target of industry criticism for trying to defend the Bush Administration’s proposal to pay for ATC modernization and operate the FAA through greatly increased aviation fuel taxes and myriad user fees. One lawmaker called the White House plan “dead on arrival” and another said Blakey was put in the position of having to “defend the indefensible.”