RAA Shares Reginal Airline Industry’s Actions to Foster and Support a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce in Statement for House Aviation Hearing

Washington, DC, July 22, 2021. Media contact: media@raa.org

In response to the July 20th hearing by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation hearing titled, “Bridging the Gap: Improving Diversity and Inclusion in the U.S. Aviation Workforce,” Regional Airline Association (RAA) President and CEO Faye Malarkey Black issued the following statement:

“RAA’s members are committed to diversity and inclusion as both a deeply-held value and a long-term business strategy, which is embedded within their hiring practices for all career paths and supported by business operations that foster a work environment where employees can embrace who they are and freely share their varied backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.

Regional airlines have made historic investments to spark career interest, help offset the cost of flight training, and dramatically raise wages to attract more candidates, including those who have been historically underrepresented on the flight deck. However, these investments cannot fully overcome the tremendous disconnect that transpires when some students and families have the financial wherewithal to access training, while others do not. This inequity of training access is a fundamental public policy problem that must be corrected to successfully foster a diverse and robust future workforce.

As part of the solution, RAA and other aviation stakeholders have offered a proposal for increasing the amount of federal student loan aid by $80,000 for unsubsidized loans and $42,000 for subsidized loans for individuals enrolled in accredited flight education and training programs. We firmly believe this will help close this aid gap and finally make the pilot profession more diverse and inclusive.

Lack of diversity within aviation careers is an affront to the goals of a modern, vibrant and inclusive workforce. This lack of diversity ultimately undermines the financial health of the aviation industry. As has been well documented, the United States is facing substantial workforce shortages for aviation maintenance technicians and pilots, and much of the long-term health of the airline industry rests on our collective ability to resolve these shortages.” 

To learn more about what actions regional airlines are taking to support a diverse and inclusive workforce and why closing the student aid gap is essential for promoting equal access to pilot careers, read RAA’s full statement here.

About RAA  
The Regional Airline Association (RAA) provides a unified voice of advocacy for North American regional airlines aimed at promoting a safe, reliable, and strong regional airline industry. RAA serves as an important support network connecting regional airlines and industry business partners. In the United States, regional airlines operate 40% of scheduled passenger flights and provide the only source of scheduled air service to 66% of the nation’s airports. Regional airlines provide 75% or more of the air service in Alabama (76%), Alaska (88%), Arkansas (83%), Idaho (75%), Iowa (76%), Kansas (78%), Maine (77%), Mississippi (77%), Montana (78%), Nebraska (90%), North Dakota (87%), South Dakota (85%), Vermont (77%), West Virginia (92%), and Wyoming (78%). Regional airlines provide half or more of the air service in Indiana (61%), Kentucky (67%), Michigan (57%), New Hampshire (61%), New Mexico (53%), North Carolina (54%), Ohio (58%), Oklahoma (51%), Oregon (50%), Pennsylvania (53%), Rhode Island (54%), South Carolina (54%), Tennessee (47%), Virginia (58%) and Wisconsin (61%).