Have there been documented cases of training standards being lowered, or other risk-increasing actions being taken, for the purpose of increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the aviation industry?

The mere existence of DEI policies does not necessarily imply that standards are being lowered. If an airline decides to prefer hiring pilots from minority groups when given the choice between two equally-qualified candidates, that's a DEI policy, but it does not involve lowering standards. If, however, an airline would prefer a less-qualified pilot solely due to minority status, and there is evidence of such a policy, that would be a good answer.

I am not asking for opinions. I am asking if there is documented evidence of at least one case of standards being lowered to promote diversity. Please do not debate the legality or ethics of DEI in the comments.

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    – Jamiec
    Commented Feb 21 at 21:36

1 Answer 1


The only case I'm aware of isn't so much a drop in standards, but a bizarre sort of dirty trick incorporated into an Air Traffic Control preliminary screening questionnaire during the Obama admin. If you answered that your worst high school subject was "science" to one of the questions, you were moved to the top of the list. The "correct" answer was broadcast to minorities only, somehow, to get the word out.

You may think it sounds too crazy to be true and I'm talking through my hat, but it did happen and there is in fact a class action lawsuit filed against the FAA, (Brigida vs FAA) filed after the scheme leaked out, by people who had spent thousands at private ATC training colleges and found out the deck was stacked against them if they weren't a beneficiary of the information.

The questionnaire was later dropped, but it seems to have gone on long enough to get a lot of "non-beneficiaries" pretty upset.

Reducing standards in training is another matter, and I have seen no evidence of that. But if it was happening, it would show up as, say, an internal policy where a minority trainee would be allowed additional simulator sessions if they were struggling, or possibly they would be allowed a "1" score (items are graded 1 to 4, with one being a fail) on a check ride item where that would normally fail a pilot. On the other hand, there is some discretion afforded the people doing the training, so that sort of thing could be happening unofficially.

If it was an actual policy though, I think you'd get a pretty big outcry from everybody, including black, brown and female pilots who did meet standard.

I think if you polled the pilot community you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who wasn't fine flying with anybody who met standard under the standard training conditions like everybody else, even if they were purple with spots.

Probably if you peruse PPrune Forums no doubt you'll find a forum channel with this debate raging on. There was once a Boeing Simulator instructor who worked in S Korea for many years who unloaded on PPrune about training of Asian crews (related to cultural issues, not intelligence or skill). So if anything is happening with DEI in aviation, that's where you'll find out about it.


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