Najeeb Halaby

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Najeeb Halaby
Najeeb Halaby 1961.jpg
Halaby being sworn in as Administrator of the Federal Aviation Agency, 1961
2nd Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration
In office
March 3, 1961 (1961-03-03) – July 1, 1965 (1965-07-01)
PresidentJohn F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded byElwood Richard Quesada
Succeeded byWilliam F. McKee
Personal details
Najeeb Elias Halaby, Jr.

(1915-11-19)November 19, 1915
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
DiedJuly 2, 2003(2003-07-02) (aged 87)
McLean, Virginia
Children3, including Lisa Halaby–Queen Noor of Jordan
Parent(s)Najeeb Elias Halaby
Laura Wilkins
Alma materStanford University
Yale Law School
OccupationAviator, government official, businessman

Najeeb Elias "Jeeb"[1] Halaby, Jr. (Arabic: نجيب إلياس حلبي; November 19, 1915[2] – July 2, 2003) was an American businessman, government official, celebrated aviator, and the father of Queen Noor of Jordan. He is known for making the first transcontinental jet flight in U.S. history and for his service as CEO and chairman of Pan American World Airways from 1969 to 1972.

Early life and ancestry[edit]

Halaby was born in Dallas, Texas.[2] His father was Najeeb Elias Halaby (March 17, 1878/1880 – December 16, 1928), a Syrian Christian[3][4][5] Whose parents hailed from Aleppo, arrived in the United States in 1891.[6][7][8] Halaby's paternal grandfather was Elias Halaby, a provincial treasurer or magistrate in Ottoman Syria,[5] who also came to the United States in 1891.

Halaby's father worked as an importer, and later as an oil broker; in the mid-1920s he opened Halaby Galleries, a rug boutique and interior-decorating shop, at Neiman Marcus in Dallas, and ran it with his American wife, Halaby's mother, the former Laura Wilkins (April 23, 1889 – April 1987). His father died shortly afterward, and his estate was unable to continue the new enterprise. Following Halaby's father's death, Laura Halaby married Urban B. Koen, but they ultimately divorced. Halaby's maternal grandfather was John Thomas Wilkins, who served in the 7th Tennessee Cavalry during the American Civil War.[9]


First Lady of the United States Pat Nixon visits the cockpit of the first commercial Boeing 747 jet, in conjunction with the christening ceremony for the plane at Dulles International Airport

Halaby was a graduate of The Leelanau School, a boarding school in Glen Arbor Township, Michigan, and is enshrined in that school's Hall of Fame. An alumnus of Stanford University (1937) and Yale Law School (1940), he served as a U.S. Navy test pilot during World War II. On May 1, 1945, Halaby made history by making the first transcontinental jet flight in U.S. history. Halaby took off from Muroc AFB, California, and landed at Patuxent River NAS, Maryland, 5 hours and 40 minutes later.[10]

After the war he served as the U.S. State Department's civil aviation advisor to King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, helping the King develop Saudi Arabian Airlines. Next, he worked as an aide to Secretary of Defense James Forrestal in the late 1940s, then helped Paul Nitze write NSC 68.[11] He joined Laurance Rockefeller's family office in 1953, reviewing investments in civil aviation.[12]

From 1961 to 1965, he served as the second Administrator of the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) – the future Federal Aviation Administration, having been appointed by President John F. Kennedy. Halaby was a proponent for the creation of the United States Department of Transportation, which occurred in April 1967 during his time in the Lyndon B. Johnson administration. During his tenure as FAA administrator, he also was the lead proponent of the Boeing 2707 Supersonic Jet. President Johnson signed executive order 11149 approving $1 billion to build a US made SSJ, but eventually the project was cancelled in 1971 because of its cost.

From 1969 to 1972, he served as CEO, and chairman after 1970, of Pan American World Airways. As Pan American World Airways chairman, he was present at the christening of the first Boeing 747 aircraft.

Bobbie R. Allen, Najeeb Halaby, Alan S. Boyd

Personal life[edit]

Halaby was married three times. He married Doris Carlquist in Washington, D.C., on December 24, 1945 until he divorced her in 1977. They had three children: daughter Lisa, who became Queen of Jordan in 1978; son Christian; and daughter Alexa.[13]

He was married to the former Jane Allison Coates from 1980 until her death in 1996. From 1997 until his death in 2003 at age 87, he was married to Libby Anderson Cater.[14]


  1. ^ FAA ADMINISTRATOR NAJEEB HALABY, by Maria Papageorgiou
  2. ^ a b Najeeb Elias Halaby, Jr.'s Birth Certificate
  3. ^ "Najeeb E. Halaby, Former Airline Executive, Dies at 87".
  4. ^ Papageorgiou, Maria. "FAA Administrator Najeeb Halaby" (PDF).
  5. ^ a b "Queen Noor". Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  6. ^ Halaby, Najeeb E. (1978). Crosswinds: an airman's memoir. Doubleday. p. 3. ISBN 9780385049634.
  7. ^ Noor, Queen (2003). Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life. p. 9. ISBN 9781587244667.
  8. ^ Gates Jr., Henry Louis (September 2010). Faces of America: How 12 Extraordinary People Discovered their Pasts. p. 65. ISBN 9780814732656.
  9. ^ Halaby, Najeeb E. (1978). Crosswinds: an airman's memoir. Doubleday. p. 4. ISBN 9780385049634.
  10. ^ Orfalea, Gregory The Arab Americans: A History. Olive Branch Press. Northampton, MA, 2006. Page 117
  11. ^ Halaby, Najeeb E. (1978). Crosswinds: an airman's memoir. Doubleday. p. 49. ISBN 9780385049634.
  12. ^ Halaby, Najeeb E. (1978). Crosswinds: an airman's memoir. Doubleday. p. 58. ISBN 9780385049634.
  13. ^ The New York Times
  14. ^ Najeeb Halaby, longtime university supporter and volunteer, dies at 87
Government offices
Preceded by Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration
1961 – 1965
Succeeded by