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FAA chief resigns over drunken driving charge

Federal Aviation Administration head Randy Babbitt in Fairfax County Sheriff's booking photograph
Federal Aviation Administration head Randy Babbitt in Fairfax County Sheriff's booking photograph

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. aviation safety official resigned on Tuesday over a drunken driving charge.

Randy Babbitt said in a statement that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood had accepted his resignation from his post as the head of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Babbitt, 65, was arrested on Saturday in Fairfax, Virginia, and charged with driving while intoxicated.

A former pilot and union official, Babbitt has led the FAA since 2009.

Babbitt did not mention his arrest in the statement, but said he would not "let anything cast a shadow" over the FAA.

"I am confident in their ability to successfully carry out all of the critical safety initiatives underway and the improvements that the FAA has planned," Babbitt said.

LaHood called Babbitt a "dedicated public servant" and credited him with improving relations with the air controllers union and introducing new pilot training guidelines.

(Reporting by John Crawley; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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