10 Things You Didn't Know About the Federal Aviation Administration

The FAA works to improve the safety and efficiency of flight.

  1. The earliest government oversight of civil aviation was assumed primarily by an aeronautics branch of the Department of Commerce beginning in 1926.
  2. Before the Commerce Department took on the responsibility of operating the nation's system of lighted airways, the post office had informally undertaken the task because of its interest in transporting mail by plane.
  3. In 1958, Dwight Eisenhower created a new independent agency to oversee civil aviation; it was called the Federal Aviation Agency.
  4. In 1966, Lyndon Johnson created the Department of Transportation; the FAA's name was changed to the Federal Aviation Administration, and it became an agency within the DOT.
  5. There have been 16 FAA administrators since 1958; the first was retired Air Force Gen. Elwood "Pete" Quesada, who served until 1961.
  6. In August 1961, the government responded to a growing number of hijackings by employing armed guards on civilian planes for the first time.
  7. Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Transportation Security Administration was created to succeed the FAA as the agency with the primary responsibility for civil aviation security.
  8. The world's busiest airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which transported 89,379,287 passengers in 2007.
  9. From January through April 2009, domestic flights operated by large air carriers were on time 79 percent of the time.
  10. The DOT requested $73.2 billion in its FY2010 budget, including nearly $16 billion for the FAA.


  • faa.gov
  • dot.gov
  • Department of Aviation, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  • The Bureau of Transportation Statistics