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Peters Announces New Bipartisan Legislation to Promote Women in Aviation

Bill Seeks to Address Aviation Workforce Challenges, Underrepresentation of Women in the Sector

DETROIT, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) announced new bipartisan legislation to promote women in the field of aviation.

Peters’ Promoting Women in Aviation Act – which he recently introduced with U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) – would make the Women in Aviation Advisory Board (WIAAB) a permanent body in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The board was established as part of the 2018 FAA reauthorization law to create a one-time report with recommendations for the FAA, aviation industry, and Congress on how to encourage more women to pursue careers in aviation and remain in the sector. The board released its report and recommendations in March 2022, but then were immediately disbanded without the opportunity to follow up on recommendations to ensure that progress is made.

Women continue to be underrepresented in the aviation field, where they currently make up less than 12 percent of aerospace engineers, less than 10 percent of licensed pilots, and less than 3 percent of maintenance technicians. Peters’ bipartisan bill would establish the Women in Aviation Advisory Board permanently so it can continue to provide valuable insight on best efforts to recruit, promote, and retain more women in the industry. The bill would help strengthen the aviation workforce at-large as well as address pilot shortage challenges that have especially disrupted air service in rural areas as well as maintenance technician pipeline challenges that have hurt the aviation supply chain.

“Strong representation of women in the workforce is imperative to our nation’s economic competitiveness and success, including in critical fields like aviation,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. “My commonsense, bipartisan legislation aims to increase the number of women working in aviation, helping to fill workforce gaps and keep costs down by making sure we have enough engineers, pilots, technicians, and other critical aviation workers for years to come.”

“There are 55 critical recommendations in the Women in Aviation Advisory Board report that will help to recruit, retain, and advance more women in the aviation industry,” said Kelly Jost, former Women in Aviation Advisory Board member from Michigan, and a Managing Engineer at aviation group C&S Companies. “Establishing a permanent advisory committee is one of those recommendations and a big step towards progress, because this committee will promote accountability and move the other recommendations forward.”

“The Michigan Association of Airport Executives heartily endorse the work being done on the Promoting Women in Aviation Act,” said Steven P. Smigelski, Michigan Association of Airport Executives President. “History is replete with the positive accomplishments of women in aviation.  The codification of a Women in Aviation Advisory Board can only enhance their future contributions to our industry and materially improve the state of American Aviation”

“I commend Senator Gary Peters for recognizing the importance of establishing a Women in Aviation Advisory Committee to support the recommendations outlined in the final FAA Women in Aviation Advisory Board report,” said Allison McKay, CEO of Women in Aviation International. “As a nonprofit organization with over 18,000 members worldwide, we recognize the importance of creating a diverse workforce and look forward to playing an active role in the success of the “Promoting Women in Aviation Act.”

“Our profession is stronger when the door is open to everyone who has the passion, talent and qualifications to be an airline pilot,” said Capt. Jason Ambrosi, International President of the Air Line Pilots Association. “Together we can do more to encourage and support women dreaming of becoming pilots, and establishing the Women in Aviation Advisory Committee is an important step to pave the way for the next generation of aviation professionals. Thank you, Senators Peters and Fischer for your leadership and support.”

“ACI-NA appreciates Senator Peters for leading this effort to make the Women in Aviation Advisory Committee a permanent part of the FAA,” said Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO of Airports Council International – North America. “This panel has undertaken important work to highlight and expand the role of women in aviation, and more work need to be done to improve the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women all across the aviation industry.”

“A4A appreciates the leadership of Senators Peters, Fischer, Duckworth, Sinema and Moran and is grateful for their diligent support of the Women in Aviation Advisory Board,” said Nicholas E. Calio, President and CEO of Airlines for America (A4A). “We strongly support the Promoting Women in Aviation Act, which helps ensure the recruitment and retention of women in aviation, as well as the advancement of female leaders in our industry. A4A is committed to recognizing the achievements of women within the aviation sector and advocating for the development and promotion of diverse talent in the aviation and aerospace workforce.”

“Thank you Senator Peters for his leadership by championing this significant piece of legislation! Without strategic intervention the introduction of women into aviation will remain largely stagnant as it has for the last 60 years,” said Patricia Gilbert, International Federation of Air Traffic Controller Associations (IFATCA) Executive Vice President Americas. “His bill establishes a permanent woman in aviation advisory committee to ensure sustained focus on the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in aviation professions. The industry is in dire need of highly capable individuals and to be successful they need to come from a wider talent pool consisting of many backgrounds.”

“The aviation and airport development community must attract and retain the talent needed to keep the U.S. as the leader of the international aviation system. Of particular importance is attracting more women and minorities, which are underrepresented in our industry,” said T.J. Schulz, President of the Airport Consultants Council. “The Airport Consultants Council (ACC) supports the Protecting Women in Aviation Act, which makes permanent the Women in Aviation Advisory Board that was created in the 2018 FAA Reauthorization. The WAAB played a vital role in identifying ways to attract more women into aviation. Codifying the WAAB through establishing a new Women in Aviation Advisory Committee will ensure continued efforts to fill the pipeline of future aviation workers.”

Peters helped enact and was a strong supporter of the 2018 Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, speaking on the Senate floor in support of its passage, which created the Women in Aviation Advisory Board. Peters has also been an advocate in Congress for strengthening and expanding STEM education. Peters previously helped introduce legislation to improve inclusion of women, minorities, and people with disabilities in STEM careers. In the most recent government funding law, Peters secured federal resources for community colleges across Michigan to enhance their STEM education and skills training programs to advance workforce development and Michigan’s overall economic competitiveness.