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FAA Administrator Steve Dickson resigns halfway into 5-year term

Feb. 17, 2022
3 min read
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson resigns halfway into 5-year term
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Steve Dickson, the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, is stepping down, effective March 31.

The former Delta Air Lines pilot and executive had a tenure that was punctuated by multiple crises. Dickson was sworn-in to the agency in August 2019, five months after the global grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX. He was the face of the agency's effort to get the aircraft recertified, and literally was hands-on in the process — even flying the aircraft in a test flight.

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Dickson also led the agency through the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw brief closures of air traffic control facilities due to COVID cases, along with other challenges. Additionally, he led the agency's effort to crack down disruptive airline passengers, and had been a key player during the chaotic rollout of 5G C-band wireless service in the U.S. last month. This week, the agency again took center stage, telling Boeing that it will inspect each new 787 delivery as quality issues continue to pause deliveries of the popular widebody aircraft.

Dickson, 64, cited a desire to spend more time with his family. He had been commuting between Georgia and Washington, D.C.

"Over the past several years, my family has been a source of tremendous encouragement, strength and support," Dickson wrote in a letter to FAA employees. "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."

Originally nominated by former President Donald Trump, Dickson's term was to expire in August 2024. It will now be up to Biden to nominate Dickson's successor.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that Dickson will be missed. The FAA is by far the largest agency inside of the Department of Transportation.

"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," Buttigieg said in a statement. "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."

Featured image by Bloomberg via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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