Denver airport official 'leading contender' to be FAA nominee -official

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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Denver International Airport Chief Executive Phil Washington is a "leading contender" to be nominated to head the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a White House official told Reuters on Thursday.

The job has been vacant since March 31 when Steve Dickson, who was nominated to the position by former President Donald Trump in 2019, stepped down about halfway through his five-year term.

The official did not confirm a Seattle Times report that the White House is set within days to announce Washington as President Joe Biden's nominee. A spokesperson for Washington referred questions to the White House, which declined to comment.

Washington headed the Biden-Harris Transportation Department transition team, and he previously was the CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) from 2015 to 2021. He also was a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Army.

The Biden administration tapped Billy Nolen, who in December was named the FAA's associate administrator for aviation safety, to serve as the acting FAA administrator until a nominee is named and confirmed to a five-year term.

The next FAA administrator will face questions about the agency's oversight of planemaker Boeing, including its ongoing review of the 737 MAX 10. Boeing must win certification for the largest variant of the 737 MAX before a new safety standard on cockpit alerts takes effect in December or seek a waiver from a 2020 requirement from Congress.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman)