Stephen Dickson. Photo: FAA

MIAMI — The new head of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Stephen Dickson, said that the organization is not following any timeline to return the Boeing 737 MAX into service.

“This plane will not fly in commercial service again until I’m completely assured that it is safe to do so,” he said during a swearing-in ceremony in Washington, DC, earlier today. 

The Boeing 737 MAX crisis deepens as the new head of the FAA confirms that there is no timeline for the ill-fated aircraft to return to service. A total of 387 aircraft belonging to 43 airlines have remained grounded since early March.

Photo: Chuyi Chuang

“We are going where the facts lead us and diligently ensuring that all technology and training is present and correct before the plane returns to pass for service,” Dickson said.

Dickson, an aviation industry professional with four decades of experience under his belt, was sworn in by U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao as the 18th administrator of the FAA.

“I am honored to join the outstanding team at the Federal Aviation Administration and look forward to ensuring our aviation system maintains its proper place, leading the world in both safety and operational performance,” said Dickson during the ceremony.

“Nowhere else in the world sees the volume, complexity, and pace of innovation that we have in America. Maintaining the highest levels of safety while adapting to technological advancements will be a key part of our success. I am honored to be able to help write the next chapter in the history of the FAA.”

Dickson will be at the helm of the world’s largest and most important aviation regulation office, which is responsible for handling and regulating more than 50,000 flights each day.

The new head of the FAA recently closed a long chapter at Delta Air Lines, where he worked as a line pilot (flying Boeing 727, 737, 757, 767 and A320), later becoming Senior Vice President of Flight Operations.

Dickson was also responsible for the airline’s safety and adhesion to all regulations imposed by the FAA.

As the 737 MAX crisis continues, a report published by UK-based flight data information firm, OAG, reports that the airline industry’s lost revenue because of the plane’s grounding looms at $4.1 billion.

According to this report, of the $4.1 billion, about $600 belong to American Airlines (AA), Southwest Airlines (WN), and United Airlines (UA)—the three US carriers that were forced to ground the plane in March.

Stored aircraft include American, United, Copa, Fly Dubai, Icelandair, TUI (UK & DE), Shenzhen, Samoa (now NTU?), Norwegian, Turkish, & Air Canada. Photo: Joe G Walker

The report also lists that Turkish Airlines, Air Canada, and China Southern, together with AA and WN, are within the top five list of lost seats because of the grounding.

In detail, the report specifies that China Southern has lost approximately $370 million, whereas Air Canada has lost $300 million, Southwest Airlines at $290 million, and Turkish Airlines at $270 million.

“The grounding of the 737 MAX continues and the commercial damage for airline operators appears to be increasing as the loss of capacity is now at its highest during the peak summer season for many operators,” noted OAG Senior Analyst, John Grant, in a public statement.

“For every carrier, there appears to be a significant reduction in capacity offered, much of which would have been assumed in the original planning of the carriers for this financial year,” he added.

On top of all the losses that airlines have had to cope with, Boeing is also on a path to disaster. In July, the North American planemaker revealed that it would record an after-tax charge of $4.9 billion, “in connection with an estimate of potential concessions and other considerations to customers for disruptions related to the 737 MAX grounding and associated delivery delays.”

Boeing added that such charge “will result in a $5.6 billion reduction of revenue and pre-tax earnings in the quarter.”