FAA Orders Airport Board To End ‘Discriminatory’ Policy


The FAA has told the city of Lafayette, Louisiana, and the surrounding parishes to get rid of a rule that requires at least one of the seven members of its airport commission to be Black. The Baton Rouge Advocate is reporting the FAA has ruled the practice is discriminatory and must end. The city appoints three of the commission’s members and has an ordinance requiring that at least one of those be a Black person. The surrounding jurisdictions that have representation on the commission do not have that rule.

The FAA discovered the long-held practice in a review and fired off a letter to the commission saying the racial requirement “does not comply with the Commission’s nondiscrimination obligations.” As well-meaning as the policy might be, the FAA said it might actually create less diversity on the board. “With the quota for the single position satisfied, decision makers and the public might be unconcerned that the remainder of the Commission members are not representative of the local community,” Gene Roth, director of the National External Operations Program, FAA Office of Civil Rights, wrote. “Even if that is not the current result, it is a risk in any future selections.” There are now two Black members on the commission.

Airport Executive Director Steven Picou said the airport has received more than $40 million from the FAA in recent years for various improvements, including a new terminal. “If the council doesn’t adopt this, then we are not in compliance with our grant assurances and we are jeopardizing millions of dollars for the airport potentially,” he said. “The FAA could pull funding for the airport.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. About time SOMEONE realized that discriminatory quotas and affirmative action are the ANTITHESIS of equal opportunity and the American meritocracy ideal. Surprised and pleased it was the FAA.
    The dumbing down of government since Plantation-owner Jimmy Carter threw out PACE scores and encouraged hiring minimum standards minorities ahead of better qualified candidates has produced inefficiency and public safety tragedies… including within ATC.

  2. Uh Oh – someone within the FAA is overdue for some sensitivity training, on the way to the re-education camp.

  3. Really a blockbuster story here Russ along with the “Ocular Impact” story. You must have been up all night digging deep for wing nut red meat bait. You’re the winner of today’s barely relevant prize.

  4. Is it just me or does anyone else question why there is an “FAA office of Civil Rights”?

  5. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

    Martin Luther King.

    Any questions?