The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) hasn’t had a permanent leader since early 2018. At that point Michael Huerta, who had been appointed by President Obama, stepped down.
It’s surprising that the role has been vacant for over a year, since it seems like it would be pretty important for an organization like this to have real leadership. It looks like the recent Boeing 737 MAX crashes have finally caused action to be taken on this front.
It was announced today that President Trump has nominated Steve Dickson to lead the FAA for a five year term, pending Senate approval. Steve Dickson is a former Delta executive, who was VP of flight operations for the company.
He retired this past October after being at the company for 27 years. He was initially a pilot at the airline, flying five different types of jets. He’s a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, and was an Air Force officer prior to joining Delta.
The timing of all of this is likely no coincidence. With the two recent Boeing 737 MAX crashes and allegations that are coming out, there’s increased scrutiny about the FAA’s oversight role. Specifically, there are questions about the process that led to the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX. I assume that prompted this sudden nomination.
For what it’s worth, last year President Trump mentioned the potential of nominating John Dunkin, his personal pilot, as head of the FAA. He never followed through on that, though.
I had never heard of Steve Dickson before this, so I’m curious about the backstory. I do think it’s interesting he’s nominating an airline pilot who also served in an executive role at an airline. On the surface I’ll take that over someone’s personal pilot.
More than anything else I find the timing of this to be the noteworthy part of the story, given that it comes during the increased scrutiny following last week’s 737 MAX crash.
When I think of former Delta pilots in different roles, the fact that Tajikistan’s Somon Air has a former Delta captain as their CEO is always the first thing that comes to mind. What a life that must be…