Federal Aviation Administrator Steve Dickson announced he will be leaving the agency at the end of March. A former Delta Air Lines captain and operations vice president of that airline, Dickson came to FAA after taking retirement from his position at the Atlanta-based airline. Although Dickson faced a tough couple of years coming in amidst the Boeing 737 Max tragedies, the COVID pandemic and the worst spate of unruly passengers in aviation history, he handled all with aplomb. He is only a little over two years into a five year term. Dickson released the following statement:
“By now, most of you have heard that I will be stepping down as FAA Administrator as of March 31. As I expressed to FAA employees in an email sharing my decision, it’s time for me to go back to Atlanta, where my wife, Janice, and my family have been keeping a light on for me. It started as a porch light, but it’s become a search light, calling me home.
As I also told the nearly 45,000 FAA employees, I am tremendously proud of the work we’ve accomplished over a very short time. We put this agency on firm footing to excel and prosper in the 21st century and beyond. We made, and we continue to make, our global aviation system safer from the hard lessons learned from the 737 MAX; we kept the skies open and safe despite tremendous odds when COVID-19 shut down the global transportation network, and we continue to make sure the safety of the aviation industry and the insatiable desire for connectivity can coexist.
And despite all of the crises, this dedicated workforce shared my vision for modernizing our approach to safety and revitalizing and reinvigorating our workforce, in part through our Flight Plan 21 initiative, which is now well underway. We’re safely integrating exciting new forms of transportation—drones, flying taxies, automated aircraft and spacecraft, to name a few. I’m not exaggerating when I call this the most exciting time in aerospace since the advent of the jet engine, and maybe even the Wright Brothers.
I said hello to many intelligent and diverse new people in our workforce, and said goodbye to too many wonderful souls, taken from us much too early by COVID-19.
I’m particularly grateful for the time I’ve spent with the next generation, who will lead us into the future. You can’t help but feel hope for humanity when you see their unbridled optimism for what’s possible in an equitable world, and where we might travel together as a nation in the future. Ad astra—to the stars!
Please know that although I will leave the FAA at the end of next month, I will always be an advocate for the agency’s work and our shared commitment to aviation safety.”
The Biden Administration will begin a search for his replacement.