President Trump has described his longtime personal pilot as a "real smart guy"—so smart that insiders say the president wants to put him in charge of civil aviation. Sources tell Axios that Trump has been telling administration officials that he would like John Dunkin, who piloted his Boeing 757 during his campaign, to run the Federal Aviation Administration. The insiders say that while it may sound as if Trump is picking an unqualified candidate that he happens to know personally, Dunkin has already delivered an impressive performance during an interview for the post. "He's on the list because he's the president's pilot, but if he gets the job it won't be because he's the president's pilot," one senior source says.
Dunkin "isn’t just a pilot," an administration official tells Axios. "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 transportation for travel to 203 cities in 43 states over the course of 21 months." An administration official tells the Washington Post that Dunkin is definitely "in the mix" to lead the FAA, but Trump isn't putting his "thumb on the scales" during the selection process. Sources say that when Trump faced delays at airports, Dunkin told him they wouldn't happen with a pilot running the FAA. (Trump wants to separate air traffic control from the FAA.)