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Former Delta executive nominated to head FAA

Former longtime Delta Air Lines executive Steve Dickson was announced as the White House’s nominee to lead the FAA as administrator on March 19.

Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines

Pending Senate confirmation, Dickson will succeed Dan Elwell, who has been serving as acting administrator for the past 14 months, following Michael Huerta’s retirement from the agency.

Dickson was with Delta for 27 years, retiring in 2018 as senior vice president of global flight operations. During his tenure with the airline, he was responsible for training, technical support, and regulatory compliance for more than 13,000 pilots. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and flew F–15s during his military career.

News of Dickson’s nomination has generated positive feedback from industry officials and stakeholders, including AOPA President Mark Baker. Baker worked alongside Dickson on the NextGen Advisory Committee, which has been instrumental in prioritizing air traffic control modernization initiatives.

In the past, Dickson has been outspoken against ATC privatization, calling it “reckless” as it would disrupt the progress of NextGen implementation.

“Steve Dickson is a solid choice to lead the FAA,” Baker said. “His in-depth knowledge of our aviation system, keen awareness of general aviation as well as the challenges before us make him the right choice to lead the agency. I am hopeful the Senate will move to confirm Mr. Dickson as quickly as possible.

“We also commend Acting Administrator Dan Elwell for his unwavering commitment and dedication to serving the nation, the FAA, and the aviation industry. He’s done a great job in that role.”

As FAA administrator, Dickson will guide a $17.5 billion budget and oversee 47,000 employees. Should he be confirmed by the Senate, Dickson would serve a five-year term.

Amelia Walsh
Communications and Research Specialist
AOPA Comms and Research Specialist Amelia Walsh joined AOPA in 2017. Named after the famous aviatrix, she's a private pilot working on her instrument rating in a Colombia 350.
Topics: Advocacy, FAA Funding, NextGen

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