Trump-nominated FAA administrator to resign at end of March

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Steve Dickson announced on Wednesday that he will step down as administrator of the agency on March 31.

Dickson, who was nominated by then-President Trump in 2019 and confirmed to a five-year term that August, told FAA employees in an email that he is leaving the agency to spend more time with his family.

“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,” Dickson said in an email to FAA employees that was provided to The Hill. “As I wrote in my letter to President Biden, it is time to go home.”

Dickson’s tenure as chief of the FAA was in part dominated by issues involving the Boeing 737 Max, which was grounded in March 2019 — before Dickson was confirmed. The aircraft was involved in two deadly crashes.

The FAA received some criticism for not grounding the plane after the first crash, according to The Associated Press.

Under Dickson’s tenure, the agency focused on overseeing changes Boeing made that ultimately led to the aircraft returning to the skies, the AP noted.

More recently, Dickson’s FAA has focused on the deployment of 5G telecommunications networks. The agency has been concerned that cellular antennas near airports could interrupt travel and create a safety risk by skewing aircraft equipment readings that pilots use to read their altitude.

Verizon and AT&T last month agreed to temporarily delay their 5G rollouts near specific airports, a move that came amid pressure from the FAA, Transportation Department and White House.

Some, however, criticized the agency for moving too slowly in reacting to worries regarding the 5G technology and potential interference, AP noted.

Dickson, who previously served as senior vice president of flight operations at Delta Air Lines, told FAA employees that he was “tremendously proud of everything we have accomplished together over the past several years.”

“The agency is in a better place than it was two years ago, and we are positioned for great success,” he added.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called Dickson “the FAA’s steady and skilled captain” and said his time as chief of the agency “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.”

“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,” Buttigieg added in a statement provided to The Hill.

Caroline Vakil contributed

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden Pete Buttigieg

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