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When Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Edge Out Aptitude, Work Ethic and Performance


United Airlines became the only major airline to own a flight school when they launched United Aviate Academy in 2021, an important step, they said, in training the next generation of “talented, qualified, motivated aviators.” United released the following statement:  “Our flight deck should reflect the diverse group of people on board our planes every day. That's why we plan for 50% of the 5,000 pilots we train in the next decade to be women or people of color.” United espoused the same commitment to what has become known as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for all positions within the company.

This month, United Airlines was the only major airline to experience 5 maintenance incidents within one week, each forcing the emergency landing or diversion of airliners loaded with passengers. They included a midair fuel leak, flames exploding from a jet engine, landing gear falling off after takeoff, a hydraulic system malfunction and a plane veering off of the runway.

United CEO Scott Kirby issued a statement intended to reassure customers: “Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, our airline has experienced a number of incidents that are reminders of the importance of safety. While they are all unrelated, I want you to know that these incidents have our attention and have sharpened our focus.”

“Our team is reviewing the details of each case to understand what happened and using those insights to inform our safety training and procedures across all employee groups. This is in addition to some changes that were already planned, including an extra day of in-person training for all pilots starting in May and a centralized training curriculum for our new-hire maintenance technicians.”

Kirby has been well-schooled in the art of speaking without saying anything.

It’s hard to imagine any company more invested  in imposing a liberal agenda on its employees and the public than United. They have long had men and women with “gender dysphoria” dressed as the opposite sex piloting their planes. The climate change agenda is a priority for the company; they have distributed “Black Lives Matter” buttons to their employees; and they became a tool of government coercion when they implemented the industry’s first and strictest COVID vaccine mandate for employees. Any employee who received a medical or religious exemption was laid off without pay and the company did not hesitate to fire those who would not comply with the mandate. Employees of United are expected to go along to get along. Diversity of thought has not made it onto the inclusion list.

DEI initiatives are manufactured attempts to socially engineer a political fantasy that will not happen if individual performance drives success. There is no greater bigotry than treating any group as if they cannot excel if they must rely on their ability, initiative, and hard work. The evidence is all around us: when DEI is the focus, the bar gets lowered rather than the playing field leveled. There are countless numbers of high performing people across this country who are not white males and it is a great affront to their achievement to manipulate the competitive environment in this way. True equality comes from the same opportunities and expectations for everyone. Equality does not guarantee a particular outcome to anyone.

The United flight school and the special mechanics training apprenticeship they have launched in pursuit of their DEI goals are highly suspect. The flying public has a right to know if their selection and training rigor meets the highest standards of the industry. We are experiencing an uptick in serious, reported incidents and some individuals with connections inside of the airline say there have been even more serious incidents kept from public view.

United has made a big, public deal out of its DEI goals. As they penetrate deeper into the organization chasing meaningless numbers, will there be more incidents, or worse, a real disaster? United and others who are consumed by DEI are measuring the wrong outcomes. There may be a high price to pay when diversity, equity and inclusion edge out aptitude, work ethic and performance.

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