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#PaxEx Podcast: Mulling MAX re-entry as Dickson takes the helm at FAA


Welcome to Episode 68 of the #PaxEx Podcast, which tracks how the airline passenger experience is evolving in a mobile, social, vocal world.

In this episode – available on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts – co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby consider whether the swearing-in of Stephen Dickson as administrator of the US Federal Aviation Administration is a positive development. A long-time industry veteran with nearly 40 years of experience including as a fighter pilot, Dickson recently retired from service as the senior vice president-flight operations for Delta Air Lines, where he was responsible for the safety and operational performance of Delta’s global flight operations, as well as pilot training, crew resources, crew scheduling and regulatory compliance.

Dickson’s appointment comes at a critical time, when the Boeing 737 MAX grounding is in its fifth month. He has vowed that safety is his highest priority and that the MAX will not return to commercial service until he’s completely assured it is safe to do so. But his appointment is not without its controversy, as a popular Boeing 777 pilot says she was grounded after reporting safety concerns to Delta management including Dickson.

Next, airlines and PaxEx stakeholders have shared color around how the protracted MAX grounding has negatively impacted their businesses. One common theme is that capacity is tight for operators, especially those who are dependent on the MAX. Mary and Max discuss the fallout, from airlines’ financial woes and operational disruptions to the knock-on effect to PaxEx suppliers, which say airlines are reluctant to take other aircraft types out of service for retrofits as a result of the capacity constraints. Max and Mary also consider the environmental impact of the MAX grounding, as airlines use gas-guzzling older jets to fill the void.

Last but certainly not least, the big APEX EXPO and co-located AIX, Americas show is scheduled to take place from 9 September to 12 September in Los Angeles. Mary tells us about the PaxEx themes emerging in advance of the show, which will feature a truly diverse day-one conference with many top-level women executives slated to speak.

A transcript of this podcast will be published on this page shortly.