Republicans Get Lesson On What It Takes To Run An Airport

March 7, 2023

Refutation comes in response to Republican assertion that running the 3rd largest airport in the nation has nothing to do with safety or aviation


During his nomination hearing last week to serve as FAA Administrator, Republicans questioned Phil Washington’s experience as CEO of Denver International Airport – the 3rd largest airport in the country – asserting the job doesn’t have anything to do with safety or aviation. In a letter to the Committee, the President of Airports Council International – North America, which represents more than 300 airports in the U.S. and Canada and more than 400 aviation-related businesses, refuted Republicans, outlining the extensive responsibilities that come with running an airport, such as meeting a complex set of FAA safety requirements in order to obtain and keep an airport operating certificate, ensuring safety of passengers, aircraft operations and facilities, and overseeing billions of dollars in safety investment projects. 

“I was dismayed at hearing several members of the committee question whether and how airport directors contribute to aviation safety,” President and CEO Kevin Burke said in a letter to Chair Maria Cantwell and Ranking Member Ted Cruz. “I would like to set the record straight on the important role airport directors all across the country play every day in ensuring the continued safety of passengers, employees, aircraft, and facilities within the U.S. aviation system.”

Burke continued:  “In light of the statutory requirements that the FAA administrator ‘have experience in a field directly related to aviation,’ I will submit that airport directors have extensive knowledge and experience in aviation, particularly as it relates to safety.  Their knowledge, experience, and leadership in managing complex operations … is crucial for the United States to maintain the safest air transportation system in the world.”

Read the full letter from Airports Council International here and below: