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Regulatory head moves to NATA advisory post
Alan Stephens takes on the role of NATA vice president of regulatory affairs following the move of former post holder John McGraw to the position of senior advisor, security.
Vice president of regulatory affairs Alan Stephens.

The National Air Transportation Association has named former FAA Flight Standards' acting deputy director of the Office of Air Carrier Safety Assurance (ACSA) Alan Stephens as vice president of regulatory affairs. Stephens will take over as department head from John McGraw, who will continue to foster collaboration and connectivity between the Transportation Security Administration and industry in his new role as NATA senior advisor (security).

“John McGraw's achievements as NATA vice president of regulatory affairs over the past 10 years are impressive. He has been instrumental in ensuring general aviation and on demand carrier operations receive equitable access to key airports; safeguarding the continuation of essential aviation operations throughout the pandemic; and fostering collaborative, consensus-based standards in charter operations training approaches as chair of several ACT ARC working groups,” says president and CEO Curt Castagna. “NATA's staff and membership are grateful for John's expertise, guidance and continued efforts to produce progress through partnership.”

"I am blessed to have worked alongside the talented NATA team for the past 10 years as vice president of regulatory affairs and now as senior advisor (security). The NATA staff is dedicated, providing invaluable services to our members and creating significant impact as industry advocates," says McGraw. “I am excited to see the regulatory team continue to evolve and its work elevate with Alan Stephens as department lead.”

Prior to joining NATA, Stephens held several key leadership positions at the FAA until his retirement in September 2021. In his former role he oversaw three divisions providing oversight for 33 Part 121 certificates.

Stephens began his career at the FAA as an aviation safety inspector (avionics) in September 2001. Subsequently he served as avionics MD-10/11 partial programme manager, providing oversight on the FedEx Part 121 Certificate; remotely sited inspection supervisor; avionics unit supervisor; supervisory principal avionics inspector; assistant manager and then manager of the FedEx Certificate Management Office (CMO); associate division manager for the legacy Central Region; and manager of Air Carrier C Division, Office of Air Carrier Safety Assurance.

Stephens also served in enlisted and officer roles in the Tennessee Air National Guard from February 1981 until his retirement in July 2015.

Stephens is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute and holds a bachelor's degree in professional aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as well as associate degrees in avionics systems technology from the Community College of the Air Force and telecommunication engineering technology from Southwest Community College in Memphis.

“Alan brings more than 40 years of aviation experience, including nearly two decades in various roles at the FAA, and we are thrilled that he will be leading NATA's regulatory affairs efforts,” says Castagna. “Alan's vast aviation knowledge, agency experience and strategic skill will be invaluable to charting a path forward for our members on all regulatory fronts. His initial focus will be on prioritising industry issue resolution, member feedback and NATA representation on key industry stakeholder committees. We look forward to him continuing to build on the progress made by John McGraw.”

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