As Business Aviation Becomes More Diverse, Affinity Groups Show Strength at EBACE

23 May 2019

Every year, the business aviation workforce is becoming more diverse, and that diversity is immediately apparent walking the exhibit floor at the 2019 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE2019). People from 81 countries came to the show, representing dozens of languages and backgrounds.

As young professionals and new people enter the industry, they are promoting a greater focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We’re working toward getting more diversity, and to change the image of business aviation, to be more open,” said Maureen Gautier, an associate with The Air Law Firm, one of the young professional (YoPro) delegates EBAA sent to the One Young World summit in 2018. “It’s not always easy, but it’s very important because that’s what’s going to attract more young professionals to the industry.”

The energy of these young people is matched by the dedication of industry affinity groups, such as the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP), the National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA) and Women in Corporate (WCA). These groups have been working for years to promote diversity in the industry.

“Our organization has a team that travels around the world to talk about why it’s important to be inclusive, and we do training around that,” said David Pettet, president of NGPA. “You want pilots in the flight deck to be inclusive and respectful of each other.”

While NGPA was founded in the U.S., the group is expanding globally. Pettet said EBACE was the ideal venue to grow its membership and reach internationally. Hear what Pettet had to say about exhibiting at EBACE2019.

EBACE also is an ideal forum for affinity groups to encourage young people to pursue careers in business aviation and support them in achieving their dreams.

“Women in Corporate Aviation provides mentoring, scholarships and opportunities to make your dreams come true,” said Paula Kraft, a board member with WCA. “NBAA and EBAA invited us to be part of this conference and encouraged us to be active within the industry.” Hear what Kraft says about working with NBAA and EBAA to promote diversity.

With the industry focused on attracting new talent and workforce issues, the role of affinity groups, especially at events like EBACE, will surely continue to grow.