D. Kirk Shaffer, a Tennessee attorney who has worked on airport issues, is the Federal Aviation Administration's new associate administrator for airports. Shaffer, whose appointment was announced by FAA Administrator Marion Blakey in late December, began his new job Jan. 8, says Marcia Adams, a spokesperson for the agency.

Shaffer's office oversees such activities as FAA's Airport Improvement Program, which provided about $3.5 billion last year in federal grants for airport construction work.

At FAA, Shaffer replaces Woodie Woodward, who retired in December 2005. Since then, Catherine Lang, deputy associate administrator, has been acting head of the agency's airports office.

In Tennessee, Shaffer, then with a Nashville law firm, served as outside general counsel, among other duties, for the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority until about 2004, says Lynne Lowrance, the authority's manager of corporate communications. He worked on environmental, construction and funding issues, including AIP-related matters, FAA's Adams says.

The authority operates Nashville International Airport.