Southwest Airlines is Partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to Diversify its Pilots

by Jose Nino, Big League Politics:

Southwest Airlines recently partnered with Texas Southern University to create a pipeline to recruit more non-white pilots.

Under this program, students will attend school to earn their typical bachelor’s degree, but they’ll also have the opportunity to obtain a pilot’s certificate.


After working for smaller airlines, these future TSU graduates can then apply for work at Southwest.

Throughout this process, TSU graduates will receive mentorship from Southwest pilots.

“There are nine HBCUs with aviation programs. Only three of them own their airplanes. Texas Southern University owns our own airplanes,” observed Dr. Terence Fontaine, the director of aviation at TSU.

“Well, we know we have work to do and need to do and really and truly want to do from a pilot perspective,” said Lee Kinnebrew, Southwest’s vice president of flight operations, with regards to Southwest’s efforts to diversify its flight deck. “We do want to have a diverse workgroup. We want to represent not only the customers but the communities we fly to.”

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