The White House is believed to be eying Steve Dickson, who recently retired after a 27-year career at Delta Air Lines, as its selection to permanently fill the role of FAA Administrator. The Wall Street Journal today reported that Dickson has emerged as a leading choice after acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell was believed to have removed his name from contention over a lack of consensus on his potential nomination.
If selected, Dickson also would have been named over another rumored White House favorite for the role: President Donald Trump’s pilot, John Dunkin. However, that selection was believed to receive little, if any, support from key lawmakers.
Dickson’s selection would cement strong operational knowledge and deep airline experience at the helm of the FAA. He retired from Delta at the end of September as senior vice president of operations. In a memo to employees announcing the retirement, CEO Ed Bastian and COO Gil West said he “has ensured that Delta flight operations is the best in the world, overseeing day-to-day flight operations on six continents, as well as pilot training, pilot standards, technical support, pilot staffing, and scheduling and quality assurance and compliance functions.” A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Dickson was a former F-15 fighter pilot.
It also could pair him with Elwell, appointed as deputy administrator, who brings a mix of government, airline, and association experience to his leadership positions at the FAA.