US FAA selects WestJet official to head its safety division

US FAA selects WestJet official to head its safety division

WestJet received its first 787 Dreamliner from Boeing in January 2019. Photo: Boeing

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has selected an official at a Canadian airline to head its safety division as it works to enact broad changes to the way it oversees aircraft manufacturing after the Boeing Co. 737 Max crashes.

Billy Nolen will head the FAA’s safety division. (Photo/WestJet)

Billy Nolen, vice president for safety, security and quality at WestJet Airlines Ltd., will head FAA’s aviation safety organization starting early in 2022, the agency said in an emailed press release. A former airline captain, Nolen also worked at the Airlines for America trade group and at Qantas Airways Ltd.

Nolen will take the job vacated by Ali Bahrami, who helped ground the Max after the second of two fatal crashes in 2019 but also became a controversial figure during probes of the plane before leaving the agency in June. Congress last year ordered FAA to make numerous changes to tighten oversight of planemakers such as Boeing.

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