United States Federal Aviation Administration Administrator (FAA) Steve Dickson is stepping down early from his five-year post, which commenced in 2019.


In a statement, Nicholas Calio, Airlines for America (A4A) president and CEO applauded the now outgoing administrator's strong leadership and unwavering commitment to aviation safety during his tenure at the FAA particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic — when the whole airline industry experienced its biggest challenges.


"Administrator Dickson was instrumental to the survival of US airlines during the most challenging time in our industry’s history — the global pandemic — which decimated commercial aviation," Calio said.


"We are now moving toward recovery in no small part because he fostered a communicative working relationship with aviation stakeholders to directly address the unique challenges posed by the pandemic, prioritized our joint commitment to data-driven solutions and worked collaboratively to protect the health and safety of airline crews and passengers," he added.


"There is nobody more devoted to aviation or more dedicated to safety than Steve Dickson. We wish him only the best as he begins the next chapter," Calio further said.


In his resignation letter on February 17, Dickson signalled personal reasons for his decision to step down.


"By now, most of you have heard that I will be stepping down as FAA Administrator as of March 31," he said on his letter. "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."


Nonetheless, he cited the many strides taken by the FAA during his tenure — including the challenges of the pandemic and tech investments the agency made.


"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," Dickson said.


"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," he added.