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Tue, Feb 13, 2024

Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals Takes Aim at 'Unfounded Claims'

Industry Bodies Roused to Action After Unnamed Controversy

The Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals published an open letter to the industry, flanked by more than half a dozen special-interest associations in their fight against racism in the industry.

The letter was cosigned by the ALPA, the Latino Pilots Association, the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees, the National Gay Pilots Association, Professional Asian Pilots Association, the Sisters of the Skies, United States Army Black Aviation Association, Inc., and Women in Aviation International.

OBAP's letter itself doesn't address any one article or person, instead speaking generally in a hands-off manner to present a case for the many health benefits of demographic diversity on the aeronautical industry biome. It may be assumed that they want to address some of the attention paid to an ongoing legal case, Brigida v. Buttigeig, which involves hiring practices and the FAA. The case may have exposed some unflattering behavior in the hiring process of some aerospace professionals, but a complex web of documentation and procedure left many passers-by faltering after a surface-level reading. Whatever the facts truly are, the take-away for many onlookers online seemed to be a lack of faith in the meritocratic hiring processes and procedures used in industry, thanks to one small-scale (but particularly unflattering) finger-on-the-scale anecdote outlined in the Brigida case. The narrative quickly found its feet, degrading public confidence in the professionalism of the industry at large.

In an effort to stem off such allegations - but careful not to bring them to the attention of those who aren’t in the know, OBAP took a fairly generalized approach to the surreptitious controversy, leaning the core requirements of aerospace professionals as the cure to unspecified and unarticulated allegations. "It is imperative to emphasize that diversity in the flight deck enhances safety, innovation, and the overall effectiveness of the industry," said the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals’ statement. "Diverse perspectives contribute to well-rounded decision-making processes, ultimately benefiting all passengers and stakeholders involved. The Federal Aviation Administration sets stringent requirements for all pilots, irrespective of their racial or ethnic background, to ensure the safety of air travel. These requirements are rigorous, comprehensive, and non-negotiable. The training and qualifications demanded of commercial pilots are the same for every individual who aspires to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and safety in the skies."

The Organization implored action on the part of the greater aviation community, saying they "urge everyone within the aviation community and beyond to rely on facts and evidence when discussing pilots' qualifications, ensuring our industry remains a beacon of integrity and inclusivity", adding that "We will stand united against misinformation and promote an environment that encourages and supports individuals of all backgrounds to pursue their aspirations."

FMI: www.obap.org

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