AXIOS - Hans Nichols and Joann Muller

Mike Whitaker, a former Federal Aviation Administration official under President Obama, has emerged as a leading candidate to head the agency for President Biden, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: Ensuring stable leadership at the agency responsible for aviation safety is especially important after a series of close calls and frustrations among the public about flight delays and cancellations.

  • Biden's previous nominee Phil Washington, the CEO of Denver International Airport, was forced to withdraw his nomination amid Republican opposition last month. The position requires Senate confirmation.
  • Whitaker, a lawyer by training, spent much of his career in the airline industry before joining the FAA under Obama, where he was responsible for modernizing the nation's air traffic control system as the deputy administrator and chief NextGen officer.
  • A final decision hasn't been made, according to the people familiar with the matter. A White House official declined to comment.

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