The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has named top aviation safety professional Billy Nolen as acting FAA administrator as the current administrator, Steve Dickson, steps down from his role at the end of March 2022.
According to the FAA, Nolen is an experienced aviation safety professional and former airline captain. He has been the FAA’s associate administrator for aviation safety since January 2022, where he has led a team of more than 7,600 employees who oversee all aspects of aviation safety.
“Billy Nolen has extensive expertise in aviation and a deep understanding of the vital role the FAA plays in ensuring the safety of the traveling public,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement.
“We are grateful to Steve for his service and to Billy and Brad for stepping up to lead the FAA during this critical time.”
Before joining the FAA, Nolen was vice president for Safety, Security and Quality for WestJet Airlines in Canada.
He began his professional career in 1989 as a pilot for American, earning type ratings on Boeing 757, 767 and McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft. He later managed the carrier’s Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) and rose through the management ranks to become the airline’s managing director for corporate safety and regulatory affairs.
In 2015, Nolen became senior vice president for safety, security and operations at Airlines for America, a trade group that represents the airlines. From 2018 to 2019, he served as executive manager for group safety and health at Qantas.
The announcement comes more than a month after current FAA administrator Steve Dickson announced his plans to resign as FAA administrator by the end of March 2022.