Today, American Airlines announced its donation of $1.5 million dollars to the Organisation of Black Aerospace Professionals’ Luke Weathers Flight Academy. 

An additional $250,000 per year will be put towards scholarships over the next two years.

A Generous Helping

Major U.S carrier American Airlines has declared its intention to contribute to the diversification of the aviation sector, which is significantly white and middle-class dominant. The $1.5 million donation to the Organisation of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) was announced during the organisation’s 46th annual conference, in which American served as the total sponsor. 

The Organisation of Black Aerospace Professionals is a US-based organisation that “inspires excellence” by providing opportunities in aerospace for underrepresented groups. They wish to shape the industry to represent the people they serve. 

American Airlines pilots
American wishes to improve diversity within the aviation sector. | © American Airlines 

American CEO Robert Isom stated that strength across the aviation sector, particularly pilots, requires an accurate representation of the diverse communities they serve. Isom continued, adding how important it is to “expose young people to careers in aviation, provide relief to financial barriers and increase the number of underrepresented minority pilots on the flight deck.”

American’s contribution was specifically targeted to the Luke Weathers Flight Academy. The school will benefit by being able to provide resource grants and scholarships so individuals who wish to learn how to fly but cannot due to financial and any other circumstances will have the opportunity to achieve their dreams.

The contribution will also encourage the flight academy to train and produce pilots with diverse backgrounds, thereby diversifying the flight deck from the ground up. 

Captain Albert Glenn is the Co-Director of the Luke Weathers Flight Academy. He commented on the joyous uniqueness of the flight academy and how American’s support can help the school continue its good work.

“The Luke Weathers Flight Academy is a one-of-a-kind training ground where students of all backgrounds, especially aspiring pilots of colour, can receive the training, support and mentorship pivotal to their success in the pilot profession. American’s support will only amplify our ability to prepare more aviators for successful careers.” 

Micah Clark, OBAP's third female flight instructor and Assistant Academy Director with Albert Glenn, Academy Director at Luke Weathers Flight Academy
Micah Clark, OBAP’s third female flight instructor and Assistant Academy Director with Albert Glenn, Academy Director at Luke Weathers Flight Academy. | © Michelle Corbet / MBJ

Elsewhere, the Oneworld Alliance airline has hosted over 150 students systemwide at its facilities over the summer as part of OBAP’s Aerospace Career Education (ACE) Academy. 

In late June, the Texas-based carrier announced the launch of the Elise Eberwein American Airlines Pilot Scholarship in honour of American’s Executive Vice President of People and Global Engagement, who retired at the end of the month. The scholarship will commit the $1 million over the next 10 years to contribute to the airline’s extensive efforts to diversify the pilot pool at the airline.

OBAP American Airlines Aerospace Career Education Academy trip
The young aviation enthusiasts experiencing a unique tour courtesy of American Airlines. | © American Airlines

And in July, American flew nearly 100 young aviation enthusiasts on a private charter from Chicago to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for the annual air show EAA AirVenture. 

What do you make of American’s efforts to boost diversity within the aviation sector? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. 

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