John Hickenlooper: Travel system failure boosts case for FAA nominee

U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper seized on the breakdown of a key FAA system Wednesday to make the case that the Senate should confirm the stalled nomination of Denver International Airport CEO Phil Washington to head the federal agency.

“Air travel in America shouldn’t grind to a halt because of an outdated computer system,” the Colorado senator said in a statement, referring to the grounding of U.S. flights for hours after a safety and information system for pilots failed overnight. “Today’s chaos is just the latest in a string of disruptions to air travel.

“The FAA needs a permanent Senate-confirmed administrator who knows how to get things done.”

President Joe Biden nominated Washington in July as the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, a post that’s been vacant since last March. But Washington hasn’t received a hearing, with senators citing concerns about the longtime transit executive’s limited experience in aviation and a public corruption investigation dating to his time in charge of L.A. Metro in California.

After the nomination expired last week, Biden renominated Washington. Hickenlooper argues he would be well-suited to take charge of the FAA based on his broader transportation experience and 24 years in the U.S. Army as a command sergeant major.

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