The White House has announced the nomination of Stephen Dickson, former senior vice president for flight operations at Delta Air Lines, as the next FAA Administrator.
In his former role, Dickson was responsible for the safety and operational performance of Delta’s global flight operations, as well as pilot training, crew resources, crew scheduling and regulatory compliance. Dickson is also a former U.S. Air Force officer and F-15 fighter pilot.
The agency has come under scrutiny in the wake of the March 10 crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 flown by Ethiopian Airlines that resulted in 157 deaths. The tragic crash — the second involving that model jetliner in less than five months — resulted in nations around the world quickly grounding their 737 MAX fleets, but the FAA was slow to respond. Members of Congress have asked the Department of Transportation’s inspector general to examine the FAA’s approach to certifying the plane.
Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), congratulated Dickson in a statement, saying NATCA “strongly support[s] his confirmation by the U.S. Senate.”
“This is a well-deserved appointment for Steve, who has had an accomplished career, including his serving as an F-15 fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force and his 27 years at Delta Air Lines where he has been a respected leader in the aviation community,” the statement reads. “Throughout his career, Steve has been a staunch advocate for aviation safety, and we share that commitment to the safety of our National Airspace System.”
Helicopter Association International also supported Dickson’s nomination by the Trump Administration.
“We congratulate Steve Dickson on this step in his career, and we look forward to working with him on issues important to the helicopter community,” said Matt Zuccaro, president and chief executive of HAI.
Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association, also released a statement in support of Dickson, citing his "comprehensive understanding of our national air transportation system, and the efforts underway to keep building a ‘Next Generation’ system."
If confirmed, Dickson will replace acting FAA administrator Daniel K. Elwell, who took charge in January 2018 following the departure of Michael Huerta, whose five-year term had expired.