U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a nominations hearing on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 to consider the presidential nomination of Stephen Dickson to be Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. The hearing will immediately follow the executive session in Dirksen Senate Office Building G50.
- Mr. Stephen Dickson, of Georgia, to be Administrator of Federal Aviation Administration
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Immediately following 10:00 a.m. executive session
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
This hearing will take place in the Dirksen Senate Office Building G50. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.
Chairman Roger Wicker
The committee now convenes to consider the nomination of Stephen M. Dickson for the position of Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Prior to his retirement last year, Mr. Dickson served as Senior Vice President of Flight Operations for Delta Air Lines. Mr. Dickson began his career nearly 30 years ago with Delta and as a pilot following over a decade of military service as an Air Force fighter pilot. He is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and Georgia State University’s law school.
The President nominated Mr. Dickson to be FAA Administrator at an especially challenging time for the agency. The FAA is the world’s Gold Standard for aviation safety. However, the recent overseas crashes of two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have raised serious questions about the FAA’s role in aircraft certification. I hope to hear how Mr. Dickson plans to restore the flying public’s full confidence in the agency if he is confirmed. I can assure him that this committee will continue its oversight and hold the FAA accountable for any mistakes we uncover, but we also stand ready to work with the FAA on any necessary reforms.
Although safety is FAA’s foremost responsibility, the agency must also facilitate innovation in our airspace. The committee held a hearing last week on the safe integration of new entrants into the national airspace. Unmanned aircraft are increasingly everyday tools with over 2 million drones projected to be operating in the U.S. airspace over the next five years. The commercial space launch sector is set to increase the number of launches and reentries through the airspace on the way to-and-from outer space. Urban Air Mobility companies are fast developing “air taxies” which will revolutionize travel – and I want to be among the first customers. The bottom line is that the airspace, especially at low altitudes, is going to get busier and the FAA must help manage the safe and efficient integration of all users – new and existing – into the national airspace.
If confirmed, Mr. Dickson will also need to ensure that longstanding efforts to modernize the air traffic control system, especially NextGen, stay on track. The DOT Inspector General and Government Accountability Office have documented cost overruns, significant delays, and other problems in many ATC modernization programs. Mr. Dickson has experience working with the FAA in these areas, and if he is confirmed, I hope that he will be able to improve the overall management of these critical efforts.
So, I look forward to Mr. Dickson’s testimony and the question and answer and I now turn to the distinguished Ranking Member for her opening statement.
Witness Panel 1
Mr. Stephen Dickson