Release #: 22.11
March 30, 2022

ALPA Applauds Women in Aviation Advisory Board Report

MCLEAN, Va.—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) today commended the Women in Aviation Advisory Board (WIAAB) for the recommendations it included in its final report on how to make the airline piloting profession accessible to all while maintaining the highest level of safety.

“We applaud the WIAAB—which includes ALPA National Membership Committee chair Capt. Kandy Bernskoetter—for providing these comprehensive recommendations that recognize a strong, diverse workforce is critical to the continued leadership of the aviation industry in the United States,” said ALPA president Capt. Joe DePete. “The outstanding work of the WIAAB to identify the core causes of inequity in aviation industry careers and the concrete ways we can work together to address them are one of the many reasons we were early supporters of it, advocating for the inclusion of language to establish the board in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill.”

The findings in the WIAAB’s report confirmed that women and men experience their careers in aviation differently—at all seniority levels—with barriers being largely systemic and no one entity or sector responsible for them or their resolution. The board’s report calls for industry associations and unions, government agencies, and Congress to share the responsibility of making changes to the industry in five areas: culture, recruitment, retention, advancement, and data.

“We look forward to working with other industry stakeholders and the government to address the systemic barriers to careers in the aviation industry while protecting our industry’s extraordinary safety record,” said DePete. “Today, U.S. air transportation is the safest in the world—a fact attributable to factors including our having two qualified pilots on every flight deck, maintaining first officer qualification and experience regulations, and conducting efficient and rigorous pilot training developed collaboratively by the regulator, airlines, and labor. Rather than acceding to suggestions by a few to roll back pilot qualification standards or weaken crew-complement requirements that have kept flying safe, we must open doors of opportunity and double down on safety.”

Attracting the best and the brightest to join the ranks of today’s professional airline pilots has been an ALPA priority for decades. The Association continuously seeks ways to attract those who never thought an aviation career was accessible, which is why ALPA has established a proactive, solutions-oriented agenda designed to breakdown financial and other barriers by urging the government to:

  • Align federal funding support for the education required to become an airline pilot with that of other highly skilled professionals by
    • Authorizing and increasing federal educational aid programs, such as the Pell Grant Program, to provide financial assistance to students pursuing two- and four-year degrees at post-secondary higher education institutions to cover the costs of aviation flight training;
    • Creating a student loan cancellation program that allows airline pilots to work for a specific period in exchange for loan forgiveness for airlines that serve the public need, including those that provide humanitarian relief through organizations such as Air Serv International or Doctors Without Borders and advance public health through the World Health Organization; and
    • Reviewing government guidelines to increase the number and amounts of subsidized loans available to students for flight training and ensure students who receive unsubsidized loans do not accrue interest on the loans while in school. 
  • Make aviation education more accessible to minorities and underrepresented groups by
    • Providing federal grants to minority-serving institutions that want to start aviation professional flight degree programs or those that already offer two- and four-year degrees that include flight training and want to expand their programs; and

Providing federal support to other colleges and universities that serve underrepresented communities to begin aviation degree programs that include flight training.


Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents more than 62,000 pilots at 38 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @ALPAPilots.


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or