FAA chief who dealt with 5G and Boeing crashes fallout resigning
Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Steve Dickson announced on Wednesday he will step down on March 31.
Why it matters: Since Dickson became FAA chief in 2019, the agency has imposed a zero-tolerance policy on unruly airline passengers and deployed AT&T and Verizon's C-Band 5G service. He also oversaw the return of Boeing's 737 MAX jets after two fatal crashes, for which the FAA drew criticism from Congress.
Driving the news: "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 wrote in an email to FAA staff that was shared with news outlets, including Axios.
The big picture: Dickson became FAA administrator in August 2019 after being nominated by then-President Trump to a five-year term.
- Just before he took over the FAA, which is responsible for certifying new planes, the agency was criticized for not grounding the Boeing 737 MAX jets faster. He was at the helm when the FAA cleared the planes to fly in November 2020.
- Dickson was also responsible for responding to a surge in violence and other unruly behavior by airline passengers during the pandemic, including thousands of incidents related to the face mask mandate for air travel.
- The FAA has in recent months been at the center of an ongoing dispute between wireless carriers and the aviation industry that required White House involvement over the rollout of the 5G service.
What they're saying: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in an emailed statement that he's grateful for Dickson's years of service.
- His "tenure 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," Buttigieg added.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of key moments during Dickson's tenure.