Billy Nolen named Acting FAA Administrator

“Billy Nolen has extensive aviation expertise and a deep understanding of the vital role the FAA plays in ensuring the safety of the traveling public,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “We are grateful to Steve for his service and to Billy and Brad for leading the FAA during this critical time.”

Nolen will lead the agency as it bounces back from the Boeing 737 Max crashes, which challenged its safety reputation, and as another investigation is underway into an older model 737 crash in China this week. The FAA is also managing the deployment of 5G networks by wireless carriers, which it says could pose a risk to aviation safety and a pandemic that has disrupted the aviation industry.

Nolen has led the agency’s security arm since January, overseeing a team of 7,600 employees. He previously worked for WestJet, a Canadian airline, as Vice President for Safety, Security and Quality. He has also worked for the Australian airline Qantas Airways, the Airlines for America business group and American Airlines, where he started as a pilot in 1989.

Mims was named FAA deputy administrator early in the Biden administration. He previously served on the board of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and has a four-decade career in transportation.

Dickson announced in February that he would be stepping down to spend more time with his family after running the agency since mid-2019. It will be up to President Biden to appoint a replacement, who will need to be confirmed by the Senate. The administration has not set a timeline for the selection.

“Obviously this is a very important position and it will require high level leadership,” Buttigieg said this week.

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