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Michael Whitaker
Principal, Whitaker AirSpace

Mike is a seasoned aviation executive with extensive business, government, legal and international experience who advises airlines and aerospace businesses on strategic issues.

He is well versed in general and commercial aviation, having spent most of his career as a senior airline executive and then as a senior government official with responsibility for aviation safety and the upgrading of the technology used to control airspace in the United States.  As a regulator, he developed the blueprint for safe integration of drone technology into the U.S. airspace. He has extensive international experience negotiating with joint venture partners and governments. As a CEO, he successfully led significant change initiatives in branding and corporate governance while expanding operational efficiencies and increasing profits.

He began his career as an attorney in private practice representing general aviation manufacturers, then working for TWA as Assistant General Counsel for regulatory affairs before moving to United Airlines. During his 15 years at United Airlines he rose to Senior Vice President of Alliances, International and Regulatory Affairs in Chicago. In 2009 he left United Airlines to become Group CEO of Interglobe Enterprises, India's largest travel conglomerate and operator of IndiGo Airlines, based in Delhi.

In 2013, Mike was appointed by President Obama to serve as Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), where he worked closely with FAA Administrator Huerta in running the world's busiest, most complex and safest air traffic control system in the world. Mike also served as Chief NexGen officer and was responsible for the development and implementation of the FAA’s next generation air traffic control.

During the last year of the Obama Administration, Mike left the FAA and now advises to airlines and aerospace companies, and travels as a keynote speaker throughout the country.

Mike, a private pilot, earned his J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and holds degrees in political science and French from the University of Louisville.