WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The Federal Aviation Administration has a new leader who’s making it his top priority to tackle the problems surrounding the troubled Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
Steve Dickson was sworn in Monday as the new administrator of the FAA. He vowed that safety, above all else, will guide the agency.
“The FAA is a safety-driven organization and safety is my highest priority,” he said.
The former Delta Airlines executive says the Boeing 737 Max 8 will not fly in the United States until he’s satisfied it’s safe.
“The FAA is not following any timeline to return the aircraft to service,” Dickson said.
More than 300 people were killed in two separate 737 Max 8 crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. The FAA has faced criticism for being too slow to ground the plane in the United States after those crashes.
Several investigations are still looking into what went wrong.
“I think we need to not jump to any conclusions and see where those processes go,” Dickson said.
Dickson faced a bruising confirmation hearing in the Senate last month, which ended with a split vote along party lines.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) voted no, raising concerns about Dickson’s role as an airline executive. Blumenthal said at the time that, “FAA’s broken system, at least in public perception, requires a new voice untainted by the industry.”
Dickson, however, vowed to maintain his independence from the aircraft and airline industries.
“My job is the safety of the entire system, which is not just airlines, it’s not just manufacturers, it’s not just airports,” Dickson said. “It’s general aviation, it’s everything.”
Dickson says he’ll receive his first full report on the 737 Max 8 situation on Tuesday.