Blakey Takes Parting Shot at Airlines

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Marion Blakey made her last speech as FAA administrator on Tuesday, before the Washington, D.C., Aero Club. And it held at least one surprise -- she put the blame for airline delays squarely on airline scheduling practices that are "out of line with reality." The airline industry has waged a campaign trying to blame general aviation aircraft for congestion and delays. "If the airlines don't address this [scheduling issue] voluntarily, don't be surprised when the government steps in," Blakey said. Thursday is the last day of her five-year term. Former FAA Deputy Administrator Barbara Barrett has been widely speculated to be a likely successor, but an interim administrator may be named until a new appointment is complete.

Blakey has accepted a position as president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, a move criticized by some as ethically dubious, though no specific allegations have been made that Blakey acted improperly. Blakey told USA Today that she has not taken a direct role in any regulatory action that would affect the AIA, and she was "taken aback and a little appalled, frankly" that ethical issues would be raised.