United Airlines' New Flight School Seeks Diversity in the Flight Deck

United's Aviate Academy is a training program designed to encourage more women and people of color to take to the skies
May 9, 2022 2:30 PM ET
The back of a commercial jet as it takes off towards a setting sun
Photo: Nieuwland Photography (Shutterstock)

Originally published by The Root

Saying that the aviation industry is dominated by white men is a huge understatement. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 5 percent of pilots are women, and 6 percent are people of color. But in January 2022, one of the country’s largest airlines launched a revolutionary flight training program that hopes to see those numbers grow.

Dana Donati is the CEO of United Airlines’ new Aviate Academy. There, she oversees a flight training school dedicated to diversifying the field of aviation. Among the first class of students participating in the year-long training program, 80 percent identify as women or people of color. The Root spoke with Donati about what makes this program unique and the impact she hopes it will have on the future of aviation.

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