Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao yesterday swore in Stephen Dickson as the 18th FAA Administrator. Confirmed for a five-year term, Dickson brings nearly 40 years of aviation experience to his new post, including as a former Delta Air Lines senior v-p of flight operations and U.S. Air Force F-15 pilot.
He steps into the role held on an acting basis by Dan Elwell over the past 20 months. Elwell returns to his previous position of deputy administrator thanks to a waiver that Congress passed late last month allowing him to serve alongside Dickson even though they are both former military officers. “I’m grateful for acting Administrator Dan Elwell’s steady and principled leadership during an especially challenging time in the FAA’s history,” Chao said.
Dickson takes the reins as the FAA has come under intense scrutiny for its handling of the Boeing 737 Max certification. He will steer an agency that is responsible for the safety of more than 50,000 daily flights, employs more than 47,000, and has an annual budget of more than $16 billion.
“I…look forward to ensuring our aviation system maintains its proper place, leading the world in both safety and operational performance,” Dickson said. “Nowhere else in the world sees the volume, complexity, and pace of innovation that we have in America. Maintaining the highest levels of safety while adapting to technological advancements will be a key part of our success.”