• Thursday, July 25, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Boeing tackles commercial pilot shortage with $950,000 scholarship

9899433B-2381-402A-8792-559B80CD53C9

In a recent announcement, Boeing, the American aircraft manufacturer, has pledged an investment of $950,000 in scholarships to tackle the ongoing shortage of commercial airplane pilots in the aviation industry.

The company also aims to expand and diversify the pool of skilled pilots by providing twenty-five scholarships, with a special focus on historically underrepresented communities, and in order to meet the future demand for professionals in the field.

Ziad Ojakli, Boeing’s executive vice president of Government Operations, emphasized the importance of the five chosen organizations in nurturing the next generation of pilots and breaking barriers for historically marginalized communities. “By removing social and financial obstacles, these scholarships demonstrate that a career in aviation is attainable for aspiring pilots from diverse backgrounds,” Ojakli said.

One of the notable contributions from Boeing is a $450,000 investment in Fly Compton, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization. Fly Compton’s mission is to introduce minority youth in the area to various career opportunities within the aerospace industry. With Boeing’s support, Fly Compton intends to expand flight training classes for students in the Compton community and educate them about potential careers in aircraft and drone design, construction, and maintenance.

“The cost of pilot training has been a significant barrier for many aspiring aviators, with the extensive training expenses often exceeding $100,000 in the United States, even for those with a private pilot’s license, said Demetrius Harris, the President and Executive Director of Fly Compton. He expressed gratitude for the additional funds, stating they will provide valuable opportunities for aspiring aviators.

Read also: Airlines distort flight recorder to avoid investigation after air incidents

Furthermore, Boeing’s initiative to award 25 scholarships worth $500,000 will be distributed among five aviation organizations dedicated to providing training and resources for individuals pursuing a career in aviation. The recipients of this funding include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Latino Pilots Association, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Sisters of the Skies, and Women in Aviation International.

Stephanie Grant, a board member and development director at Sisters of the Skies, as well as a first officer at United Airlines, emphasized the importance of mentorship and guidance for aspiring pilots, especially for underrepresented groups. “These scholarships will inspire and encourage more women to pursue a career in aviation, as there is currently a limited representation of Black women pilots nationwide,” Grant said.