Poll: Is DEI Hurting Aviation?

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.


  1. All of this woke garbage is nothing more than a more sinister twist of affirmative action. It puts unqualified people in positions they’re not qualified for nor have the requisite background skill or knowledge. The perfect example is the latest waste of taxpayer money questioning one of Biden’s recent candidates to head the FAA. The man was not a pilot, had zero knowledge or interest in aviation, and appointed only because he fit the profile of the Biden (Obama) narrative. This disgusting socialist crap should not be tolerated. It has no place in any profession, and certainly has no place in the cockpit of ANY airplane.

  2. DEI and anything it changes its name into must be forever banned from our nation’s character due to its horrific effect on our efficiency, productivity, and safety. To be the best, hire the best irregardless of race, creed, or color, not because of it.

  3. Hiring unqualified candidates is not neccesarily part of DEI. If it is in practice at places then that is wrong and unacceptable, particularly in aviation. Where I have worked, DEI is simply recognizing the value of diversity (it is real) and learning how to work with people who are different from you. I’ve found it enriching and productive in the companies I’ve worked with. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Uphold qualification standards and encourage diversity. Diversity, equity and inclusion is the real story of America. It’s what has made us great.

    • How do you explain the example given by mark? The proposed candidate was obviously unqualified, displaying astonishing ignorance of some of the most basics of aviation. Do you think this is unique? It’s visible and widespread. Any time a hire is done under affirmative action or DEI, there will always be a question hovering over them-was this really the best candidate, or was it based on race or gender? Which heart surgeon go you want? An affirmative action hire or actually the best qualified surgeon? Be honest, mentally placing yourself on the operating table. And no, diversity, equity and inclusion is not what made America great. An ethos of excellence, and a strong work ethic is what made us great. Along with avoidance of drugs and crime, family cohesion, personal responsibility, entrepreneurial spirit, inventiveness, etc. These are where the emphasis should be, not race and gender quotas-a divisive and destructive concept.

    • I agree Robert… however, it’s a tough sell when the highest officials in any field/career/job insist on only hiring from a specific group. DEI policies can be viewed as another form of racism, IMO… and I am from a traditionally overlooked group. I will say that in the aviation and education fields, my skills and qualifications (such as they are) have always been the primary factors in determining whether or not I achieved a certificate, rating, or job.

    • I was raised to respect others and be a team player, no issue. But your comment points out that the catch is in the details. Companies now hire to be politically correct – we’ve all seen the headlines “ABC has only 10% women” “DEF only has 17% blacks”. Yes, hire to qualification standards, but what happens when you hire someone to meet a perceived social quota, they meet the standard, just, but you sideline a better candidate that’s not as “cool”. And you keep doing that…
      My Canadian Air Force career was limited because I wasn’t bilingual “enough” – quebecers control both French and English testing! Btw most don’t really speak French. I saw similar at Canadas legacy carrier, a few times wondering what the standard was!

    • No. America was not built on diversity, equity, and inclusion. It was built on hard work, dedication and sacrifice.
      DEI is built on the false belief of diversity having “value”. That’s why to achieve the “value”, standards and qualifications have to be lowered

      • The country that has the most hard work, dedication and sacrifice is Communist China. We have it too but our edge in strength comes from our history of welcoming immigrants and others not like us (no, I am not advocating “open borders”). In the last 20 or so years 40% of American Nobel Prize winners were immigrants. We will defeat China in the superpower competition because of our diversity. A diverse team working on a problem comes up with many more and better ideas than a homogeneous one. That is an established fact. The best companies and the US military know this. I agree there are excesses with DEI. I am not in favor of hiring unqualified people. Restating my position: DEI has value. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  4. Civil Rights and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives are associated in American society, as both are connected to the pursuit of equality and justice.

    Civil Rights refer to the rights of individuals to be treated equally and without discrimination, particularly in areas such as employment, education, and housing. The Civil Rights Movement in the mid-20th century aimed to end racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans and other marginalized groups.

    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives focus on creating environments that embrace and value differences, ensuring fair treatment, representation, and opportunities for all individuals, regardless of their background, identity, or characteristics. DEI efforts address not only racial disparities but also encompass aspects like gender, sexual orientation, disability, and other dimensions of diversity.

    In contemporary discussions and efforts for social justice, there is often an intersection between Civil Rights and DEI initiatives. Both seek to address systemic inequalities and promote a more inclusive and just society, recognizing the importance of embracing diversity and ensuring equitable opportunities for everyone. Many organizations and institutions in the United States actively engage in DEI initiatives as part of broader efforts to uphold the principles of Civil Rights and create a more equitable society.