Trump picks retired Delta executive to lead aviation agency | News Coverage from USA

Trump picks retired Delta executive to lead aviation agency

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has chosen a retired executive for Delta Air Lines to head the Federal Aviation Administration.

The White House said Tuesday Trump will nominate Steve Dickson, who until recently served as Delta’s senior vice president for flight operations, to serve a five-year term as the FAA administrator. Dickson’s nomination requires Senate confirmation.

The announcement comes less than a week after the FAA and the Trump administration faced considerable scrutiny from members of Congress and outside groups for delaying the decision to ground the 737 Max 8, even as every other nation that flies the planes banned them.

The FAA initially said it had no evidence to support a grounding but later explained its reversal by saying it had reviewed new flight tracking data and new information from the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines crash earlier this month.

Federal investigators and prosecutors appear to be raising questions about the process that led to the certification of Boeing’s 737 Max jetliners in the aftermath of the Ethiopian Airlines crash and a Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October.


Like many other agencies in the Trump administration, the FAA hasn’t been working at full capacity. Daniel Elwell, a former Air Force lieutenant general and American Airlines pilot, has been serving as the agency’s acting administrator for more than year.

Trump last year floated the idea of nominating John Dunkin, his personal pilot, for the top FAA job, but backed down following resistance from lawmakers.

More: As Boeing faces scrutiny over the 737 Max 8, it can draw on high-flying influence campaign

Dickson, who lives in Atlanta, retired last year after a 27-year career with Delta Airlines, where he flew five different passenger jets for the company before rising to become a senior vice president of flight operations. A former Air Force officer and F-15 pilot, Dickson graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1979.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, a group that became a leading voice during the recent historic partial government shutdown, supported Dickson’s nomination. 

More: Aviation industry to Trump and Congress: End shutdown or risk more travel troubles

“This is a well-deserved appointment,” the group’s president, Paul Rinaldi, said in a statement.

During the 35-day government shutdown that ended in January, Rinaldi had implored the White House and congressional leaders to “not put flight attendants, other aviation workers, and the traveling public at risk any longer.”

More: These are the best and worst airlines in the U.S., according to new ranking



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