American Airlines flight operated by an all-Black female crew in honour of Bessie Coleman, the first black woman pilot in 1921

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Empowering women in the skies

American Airlines hosted the Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars tour to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Black woman to earn a pilot’s license in 1921. She bravely broke down barriers within the world of aviation and paved the path for many to follow.

Bessie Coleman earned her pilot’s licence in France, since no private or governmental flight programme would accept Black people in the U.S. at that time.

To honour her legacy, American hosted Gigi Coleman, Bessie’s great-niece, on a flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Phoenix on 17 August. American flight AA372 (Airbus A321 registered N986AN) was operated by an all-Black Female crew — from the pilots and flight attendants to the cargo team members and the aviation maintenance technician.

American is being intentional in its efforts to diversify the flight deck. Black women have been notably underrepresented in the aviation industry, especially as pilots, representing less than 1% of the commercial airline industry. Through the American Airlines Cadet Academy, the airline is committed to expanding awareness of and increasing accessibility to the pilot career within diverse communities.

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