Former Delta executive nominated to lead FAA

Aviation

The White House plans to nominate former Delta Air Lines senior vice-president of flight operations Steve Dickson to lead the Federal Aviation Administration.

The nomination comes more than a year since the end of previous FAA administrator Michael Huerta’s term, and at a time when the aviation regulator is under scrutiny for its certification of the Boeing 737 Max following two fatal crashes.

Dickson, if confirmed by the Senate, will replace Daniel Elwell who has been acting administrator since January 2018.

Dickson oversaw safety and operational performance at Atlanta-based Delta prior to his retirement in October 2018. He is also a licensed pilot most recently certified on the Boeing 757 and 767.

As administrator, Dickson will likely face questions regarding the FAA’s role in certifying the 737 Max, which has been grounded since 13 March. Certification of the latest iteration of the Boeing 737 family was suspended following fatal crashes at Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air within five months of each other.

US transportation secretary Elaine Chao has requested an audit of the 737 Max certification by the DOT’s inspector general.

Dickson will serve a five-year term as FAA administrator if he is confirmed.