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Allied Pilots Association Congratulates Nolen on FAA Appointment

FORT WORTH, Texas (March 30, 2022) – The Allied Pilots Association (APA), representing the 14,000 pilots of American Airlines, congratulates Capt. Billy Nolen – a former American Airlines pilot – on his appointment as acting FAA Administrator.

“By federal law, the pilot in command of an aircraft ‘is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft,’” said APA President Capt. Eric Ferguson. “It is our view that someone who understands and has borne the weight of that responsibility for a significant period of time is best suited to lead the FAA.”

Capt. Nolen was hired by American Airlines in 1989. By the time he retired from the company in 2015, he had managed its Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) and become its Managing Director for Corporate Safety and Regulatory Affairs. Before joining the FAA in January as its Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, Capt. Nolen also held safety-related positions with Airlines for America, Qantas, and WestJet Airlines.

“While the next FAA Administrator would ideally be a pilot with experience as a labor leader, we are nevertheless encouraged by the fact that so much of Capt. Nolen’s career has been focused on safety, including overseeing the ASAP program, which is a collaborative effort between management, labor, and the FAA,” Capt. Ferguson said. “We look forward to more collaboration as he assumes his new role.”

Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association — the largest independent pilots union in the United States — is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 14,000 pilots of American Airlines, including several hundred pilots on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s website is AlliedPilots.org.

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