White House Sets Dickson Nomination in Motion to Lead the FAA

No date set for Dickson’s Senate confirmation hearing.

Steve Dickson
If confirmed, Steve Dickson will serve a five-year term as the FAA's administratorCourtesy Delta Air Lines

As a former vice president of flight operations at Delta Airlines, Steve Dickson is probably used to putting out fires on a daily basis. The Atlanta native and former U.S. Air Force F-15 pilot and Air Force Academy graduate will surely be put to the test soon in front of the Senate when it considers his nomination to lead the troubled FAA. President Donald Trump formally nominated Dickson Tuesday evening to the post. Dickson is well-known as the man at Delta who led that airline's opposition to separating the air traffic control system from the rest of the FAA.

Dickson is expected to be confirmed before the Republican-controlled Senate just in time to dive into an ever-expanding series of problems surrounding the certification of Boeing's 737 MAX 8 & 9 aircraft that have drawn the agency into the investigation. All MAX aircraft in the U.S. were grounded last week amid questions regarding the safety of a piece of computer software designed to prevent loss of control of the airplane in a critical angle of attack situations. Additionally, Boeing's entire certification, as well as the FAA's interaction with the aircraft builder during the process, are being called into question. The U.S. DOT Inspector General is soon expected to begin an investigation into a number of issues surrounding the grounding and the certification following two fatal 737 MAX crashes in the past six months.

The FAA under Dickson’s guidance is expected to be responsible for eventually returning the 737 to active flying status, as well as dealing with the flying public’s crisis of confidence over whether or not the aircraft is safe.

If confirmed for a five-year term, Steve Dickson will replace the agency's temporary administrator Daniel Elwell who has been in charge since the former administrator Michael Huerta's term expired in early 2018.

No date has yet been set for Dickson’s Senate confirmation hearing.