WILMINGTON, Del. – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) released the following statement on United Airlines’ plans to train 5,000 new pilots by 2030, at least half of them women and people of color. United will accomplish this goal in part through partnerships with Delaware State University and two other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

“I welcome today’s announcement by United Airlines to help break down barriers to the airline pilot career path and increase diversity in the ranks. This effort will not only create new opportunities for women and people of color to become pilots, it will provide the industry with access to exceptional talent from HBCUs like Delaware State University, which are already working to graduate more pilots from underrepresented groups with the support of the bipartisan FLIGHT Act, which I introduced and helped pass into law last year. Our aviation industry should look like our country, and this announcement is an important step toward inclusion and diversity at the highest levels of the field.”

In December 2020, the Senate passed the Fostering Leadership and Inclusion by Growing HBCU Training (FLIGHT) Act of 2020, legislation introduced by Sens. Coons and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Reps. Anthony Brown (D-Md.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), and Greg Murphy, M.D. (R-N.C.), as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The FLIGHT Act provides new resources for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) students at HBCUs, like Delaware State University, and minority institutions, with special emphasis on support for flight training. For more information, please click here.