The top government official directly overseeing airlines has just resigned, roughly halfway through his five year term.
Steve Dickson resigning as of March 31, 2022
As of March 31, 2022, Steve Dickson will be stepping down as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator. Dickson was appointed to this position in August 2019 by Donald Trump. The 64 year old spent most of his career at Delta. He was with the Atlanta-based airline for nearly three decades as a pilot, and at the end of his airline career was Delta’s Senior Vice President of Flight Operations.
Dickson said he’s resigning to spend more time with his family:
“Over the past several years, my family has been a source of tremendous encouragement, strength and support. Nevertheless, after sometimes long and unavoidable periods of separation from my loved ones during the pandemic, it is time to devote my full time and attention to them. As I wrote in my letter to President Biden, it is time to go home.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the following about Dickson’s resignation:
“Steve has been the FAA’s steady and skilled captain, and his tenure has been marked by steadfast commitment to the FAA’s safety mission and the 45,000 employees who work tirelessly every day to fulfill it. We are grateful for his years of service to our country and his lifelong dedication to making sure our aviation system is the best and safest in the world. While all of us at USDOT will miss Steve as a leader and as a colleague, we are very happy for him and his wife, Janice, as they embark upon this next chapter together.”
Steve Dickson’s legacy at the FAA
There’s no denying that Dickson served at the FAA during one of the most challenging periods for the aviation industry:
- Dickson started in his role as FAA Administrator just months after the 737 MAX was grounded, leading to one of the biggest scandals for Boeing and the FAA’s aircraft certification process; the jet returned to the skies under his watch
- Dickson was in his role during the pandemic, which was a challenging time for airlines and air traffic controllers
- With the uptick in bad passenger behavior during the pandemic, Dickson tried to create policies to punish passengers for bad behavior (though there’s only so much the FAA can do without help from other agencies)
- Dickson was in charge of the FAA during the recent 5G airline drama, which fortunately didn’t end up having catastrophic impacts, but it was a fight against the clock
I’d say that Dickson has a reasonably good legacy at the FAA, despite the FAA’s tarnished reputation prior to him, given what came out about the way that Boeing and the FAA worked together on the initial certification of the 737 MAX.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson is resigning as of March 31, 2022. He has been at the FAA since August 2019, overseeing the 737 MAX recertification and the pandemic, which was a turbulent time for the aviation industry. I’m curious to see who is selected to replace Dickson.
What do you make of Dickson’s legacy at the FAA?