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New AIA Leader Is FAA Administrator

By | August 27, 2007

      The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) tapped Federal Aviation Administration leader Marion C. Blakey as the new AIA president and CEO, to succeed longtime AIA leader John W. Douglass.

      A lobbying group, AIA includes the largest aerospace firms as members.

      Blakey led the FAA during some challenging times, including the post-9/11 era when airlines saw boardings plunge as fearful travelers sought other modes of transit, and the rebound in airline business that has seen enormous delays during some peak seasons.

      William H. Swanson, Raytheon Co. [RTN] chairman and CEO who also is the AIA board chairman, announced Blakey’s selection.

      Blakey is the 15th FAA administrator, a position she has held since September of 2002. Her term as administrator ends Sept. 13.

      As FAA administrator, Blakey is responsible for regulating and advancing safety of the nation’s airways, as well as operating the world’s largest air traffic control system. Prior to becoming FAA administrator, Blakey served as chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

      Douglass has been president and CEO of AIA since September 1998 and will remain with AIA through Dec. 31, to provide counsel and ensure a smooth transition.

      Swanson praised Douglass for leading the AIA through “an important period in the aerospace and defense industry,” terming him “a steady hand at the controls for almost a decade.”

      Swanson also indicated that the AIA is fortunate to recruit Blakey.

      “We are very pleased to name Marion Blakey to the role of AIA president and CEO,” he said.

      “Her exceptional experience in the executive branch of government, as well her deep expertise in public affairs and government relations, will greatly benefit all the members of AIA as she represents the industry in the years ahead.”

      As FAA Administrator, Blakey has overseen the safest period for air travel in the United States’ history and is a tireless safety advocate internationally. She instituted solid business practices at the agency, with more than 97 percent of the agency’s major programs coming in on time and on budget. Under her leadership, the Next Generation Air Transportation System was launched and significant progress made toward its implementation.

      In addition to her leadership roles at the FAA and NTSB, Blakey has held five previous Presidential appointments, four of which required Senate confirmation. From 1992 to 1993, Blakey served as Administrator of the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As the nation’s leading highway safety official, she was charged with reducing deaths, injuries, and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes. Prior to her service at NHTSA, she held key positions at the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the White House and the Department of Transportation.

      Blakey, born in Gadsden, Ala., received her bachelor’s degree with honors in international studies from Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia. She also attended the John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies for graduate work in Middle East Affairs.

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