F.A.A. to Drop Donald Trump-Related Navigation Codes
By Karen Schwartz, The New York Times
Three navigation coordination points above Palm Beach International Airport that had been named in honor of Donald J. Trump will be renamed, the Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday.
“In general, the F.A.A. chooses names that are noncontroversial,” said an agency spokeswoman, Laura Brown.
A growing number of businesses have been severing ties with Mr. Trump since the Republican presidential candidate made derogatory remarks about Mexican immigrants in a campaign speech. That includes NBC, which aired Mr. Trump’s show, “The Apprentice.”
In 2010, an air traffic controller who was a fan of Mr. Trump’s reality show and its catchphrase, “You’re fired,” named some of the navigation points that pilots use for takeoff from the airport DONLD, TRMMP and UFIRD.
At the time, Mr. Trump told a reporter with The Palm Beach Post that he was flattered, but Thursday morning, he issued a statement that said:
“‘Making America Great Again’ is far more important to me than an honor I never knew I had ... meaning a blip on the radar,” he said in a statement released by Michael D. Cohen, executive vice president and special counsel at the Trump Organization.
Other navigation points were named IVNKA ONE in honor of Mr. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and BUFIT ONE, after the singer Jimmy Buffett.
Ms. Brown said she wasn’t sure if IVNKA ONE would be renamed as well, but said that nothing would happen immediately.
“Because of the charting cycle, the updates could take several months to take effect,” she said.
The coordinate names are used for a type of instrument area navigation, called RNAV. The points entered into the computer should be five letters long and must be unique to that airport. Ideally, they relate to the area where the coordinates are located.
Mr. Trump has had a long history with the area, where his daughter, Tiffany, was born in 1993. He purchased Mar-a-Lago, an estate built in the 1920s for Marjorie Merriweather Post, in 1985. After renovating it, Mr. Trump opened the estate in 1995 as a private club, though he still maintains a residence there.
He has sued the county repeatedly over the flight noise around the property. In January, he filed a $100 million lawsuit against Palm Beach County, contending that his ongoing conflict with the airport led officials to retaliate by routing all flights directly over his estate.
A 2010 lawsuit was dismissed. A 1995 lawsuit over the noise ended with the county agreeing to lease Mr. Trump the land where he later built Trump International Golf Club.
It’s not uncommon to name flight coordinates after celebrities, real or imaginary. In Orlando, Fla., there are a GOOFY, MINEE, PIGLT and BUGGZ. The flight paths into San Francisco are named with Grateful Dead references, including DEDHD, GRTFL, HYPEE, COSMC, TYDYE and TRUKN. But from the get-go, some pilots were unhappy about honoring Mr. Trump.
Paul Agnew, who was then head of the airport’s advisory committee on noise, was quoted in The Palm Beach Post saying that some pilots were unhappy with the decision to honor Mr. Trump.
“We actually have had reports of people refusing to fly these departures because they are so offended by the fact that Trump has been memorialized,” Mr. Agnew told the airport’s advisory committee during a 2010 meeting.
The flight controller who suggested the names, Gregory Gish, has since retired, the paper reported.