FILE - This file photo shows the Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration building in June 2015 in Washington. For more than six decades, the Federal Aviation Administration has relied on employees of airplane manufacturers to do government-required safety inspections as planes are being designed or assembled. But critics say the system, dubbed the "Designee Program," is too cozy as company employees do work for an agency charged with keeping the skies safe while being paid by an industry that the FAA is regulating.
Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP
Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Trump nominates former Delta executive Steve Dickson to lead FAA

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Trump on Tuesday named Steve Dickson, a former Air Force pilot and retired senior vice president of Delta’s flight operations, according to a White House news release

“Steve was responsible for the safety and operational performance of Delta’s global flight operations, as well as pilot training, crew resources, crew scheduling, and regulatory compliance,” White House officials said in the release.

"Dickson is a strong advocate for commercial aviation safety and improvements to our National Airspace System, having served as chairman of several industry stakeholder groups and Federal advisory committees," the release said.

>> Related: Ethiopian Airlines crash: Captain reported issues shortly after takeoff

The nomination follows the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max 8 and Max 9 airliners after two similar fatal crashes in recent months. A Lion Air crash in Indonesia last fall killed all 189 people on board and an Ethiopian Air crash in Ethiopia just over a week ago killed 157 people. 

The FAA dragged its feet in grounding the airliner after the Ethiopian crash, insisting that the planes were safe, as other countries grounded the jets, making the United States the last country in the world to do so.

Pilots and analysts have criticized the agency and Boeing over its hesitancy in addressing the potentially faulty flight-control software on the 737 Max jets and its slowness in offering a fix. The company and pilots were aware of the problem well over a year ago.

>> Related: Lion Air jet with 189 on board crashes in sea off Indonesia; no survivors expected

The Senate still needs to approve Dickson for the five-year post. Acting FAA Director Daniel Elwell has led the agency for the past 14 months since former Director Michael Huerta’s departure.

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