President Donald Trump is reportedly pushing for his longtime personal pilot to lead the nation's top aviation agency.
Multiple media outlets reported that Trump's personal pilot, John Dunkin, who flew Trump around the country during his presidential campaign, is under consideration to lead the Federal Aviation Administration.
Other candidates to head the agency that oversees U.S. airspace and handles more than 15 million flights a year are acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell, U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, a Missouri Republican, and an unnamed aviation industry official.
Axios reported Dunkin told people that when he and Trump were flying during the campaign, they would often be stuck on the ground with delays, which he told the president would not happen if a pilot ran the FAA.
The FAA administrator oversees an agency in charge of all civil aviation in the U.S. with a budget of $16 billion and 47,000 employees.
"My pilot, he's a smart guy and knows what's going on," Trump said in a meeting with aviation executives in February 2017.
"He said the government is using the wrong equipment and instituting a massive, multibillion-dollar project, but they're using the wrong type of equipment," Trump said, referring to a plan he supports to modernize the air traffic control system, in part by privatizing it. The measure, however, has stalled in Congress.
Axios first reported Trump's consideration of Dunkin as FAA chief. The news website quoted an unnamed administration official touting Dunkin's experience, saying he managed airline and corporate flight departments, certified airlines from startup under FAA regulations, and oversaw the Trump campaign's air fleet.