Randy Babbitt, who served as FAA administrator from 2009 to 2011, has been hired by Southwest Airlines to oversee the carrier's labor relations. Babbitt will be responsible for all negotiation, communication and ongoing relationships between Southwest and the 11 organizations that represent 87 percent of its workers, the company said in a news release on Monday. "Randy's unique skills and experience at various levels in our industry can only strengthen those partnerships, to ensure our employees continue to play an important role in Southwest's success," said Mike Van de Ven, chief operating officer at the airline.
Babbitt was named FAA administrator after serving more than eight years on the agency's Management Advisory Council. He flew for Eastern Airlines for 25 years, and later served as president of the Air Line Pilots Association. He resigned his position at the FAA in December 2011 after he was arrested on a drunk-driving charge; the charge was later dismissed after a judge ruled that police didn't have a good enough reason to stop him.