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Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s personal pilot on shortlist to head US Federal Aviation Administration

Pilot John Dunkin flew Trump around the country on a Boeing 757 during the 2016 campaign

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 February, 2018, 11:12am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 February, 2018, 11:12am

US President Donald Trump’s personal pilot is “in the mix” to lead the Federal Aviation Administration, a White House official confirmed.

Axios first reported that John Dunkin, Trump’s long-time pilot, who flew him around the country on a Boeing 757 during the 2016 campaign, is on the Trump administration’s shortlist to head the FAA, which regulates civil aviation in the United States.

A White House official said that Dunkin has had a preliminary conversation with administration officials about the job but said Trump is not putting his thumb on the scale in the selection process. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a personnel issue, said Dunkin was more qualified for the job than many people may realise.

“John Dunkin isn’t just a pilot,” an unnamed administration official told Aixos.

“He’s managed airline and corporate flight departments, certified airlines from start-up under FAA regulations, and oversaw the Trump presidential campaign’s air fleet, which included managing all aviation transport for travel to 203 cities in 43 states over the course of 21 months.”

During a meeting with top airline executives a year ago, he relayed that one of his most trusted sources about the nation’s aviation system was his personal pilot.

“I have a pilot who’s a real expert,” Trump said at the meeting. “ … My pilot, he’s a smart guy, and he knows what’s going on.”

Dan Elwell, a former FAA deputy administrator, has been serving as acting administrator since last month, when the five-year term of Michael Huerta ended.

Elwell is a former airline executive. Huerta previously held senior positions in the Transportation Department.