US Senate Confirms Trump Pick for FAA Head

July 24, 2019

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The US Senate has confirmed ex-Delta Air Lines executive Stephen Dickson as the head of the Federal Aviation Administration.

US Senate Confirms Trump Pick for FAA Head

The 52-40 vote along party lines reflects Democrat doubts about Dickson's suitability for the position after the treatment of a whistleblower at Delta.

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao welcomed the confirmation, praising Dickson's experience in the airline industry, saying he is “highly qualified to lead the FAA.”

Dickson retired as SVP of Delta flight operations last year and was nominated by President Trump for the FAA post in March. He will serve a five year term as FAA administrator.

Democrats question Dickson's suitability after he initially failed to disclose his involvement in the case of a Delta Air Lines pilot who was grounded after reporting safety concerns at the airline when he was a senior vice president.

The pilot, Karlene Petitt, said her grounding and subsequent mental health evaluation was in retaliation for the whistleblowing. Petitt was subsequently found fit to fly and resumed her operational duties.

As administrator, Dickson will have to navigate the FAA through Congressional scrutiny over safety oversight of Boeing after the deaths of 346 people in two crashes of 737 MAX aircraft.