Boeing aircraft incidents put spotlight on FAA diversity hiring
01/16/2024 // News Editors // Views

Recent incidents involving Boeing have highlighted the growing trend of diversity initiatives in the airline industry with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under scrutiny for its efforts to hire people with mental disabilities.

(Article by Naveen Athrappully republished from

Earlier this month, a door plug on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 snapped off while flying at 16,000 feet, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing. On Saturday, a Japanese airline’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft returned to its departure airport after a crack was discovered in the cockpit window.

The incidents have put a spotlight on diversity policies in the airline industry, which is being blamed for ongoing inefficiencies. According to the FAA’s webpage on diversity, people with “severe” disabilities are “under-represented” in the federal workforce. The FAA “actively recruits, hires, promotes, retains, develops and advances people with disabilities.”

The federal government has identified certain disabilities for “special emphasis in recruitment and hiring,” which the FAA complies with. This includes “hearing, vision, missing extremities, partial paralysis, complete paralysis, epilepsy, severe intellectual disability, psychiatric disability, and dwarfism.”

To fill vacancies with disabled people, the FAA practices a “non-competitive” hiring method. “Managers can choose to fill an open position through the on-the-spot hiring process.”

People with severe disabilities—missing extremities, partial paralysis, complete paralysis, severe intellectual disability, and psychiatric disability—may be “hired in an expedited manner” once they meet the necessary job requirements.

The FAA sees diversity as “integral” to achieving its mission of “safe and efficient travel across our nation and beyond.”

The agency also ensures that people with disabilities have “reasonable accommodation” at the workplace to suit their needs, including making modifications to existing facilities or installing special equipment.

It is unclear when the FAA began its disability diversity employment program. The website detailing these measures was last updated in March 2022.

DEI Over Safety?

The FAA’s disability diversity policies have come under criticism. “Just had a conversation with some smart people [who] could not believe this is happening,” billionaire Elon Musk said in a Jan. 15 X post.

“The Biden White House flat doesn’t care, just so long as they’re destroying the American way of life and our Constitutional Republic,” political commentator Lou Dobbs said in an X post.

Commenting on the disability employment initiative, the FAA recently told Fox News that the agency is vetting qualified candidates for a range of positions “from as many sources as possible.”

“The FAA employs tens of thousands of people for a wide range of positions, from administrative roles to oversight and execution of critical safety functions,” the agency said.

“Like many large employers, the agency proactively seeks qualified candidates from as many sources as possible, all of whom must meet rigorous qualifications that of course will vary by position.”

Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, chair of Do No Harm, a group of medical experts and policymakers focused on countering the spread of identity politics, told the outlet that people with disabilities who can complete their tasks should never be subjected to discrimination when it comes to employment.

However, identity politics is now “creating opportunities for so-called oppressed groups by lowering standards for entry into those fields and thereby endangering the safety of those which it’s designed to serve. Some endeavors simply do not lend themselves to identity politics.”

Just like the healthcare industry must ensure patient safety, the aviation sector too is responsible for the safety of travelers, Dr. Goldfarb pointed out. Such responsibilities outweigh other factors when determining whether an applicant is suitable for a job in these fields, he stated.

The Epoch Times reached out to the FAA for comment.

Boeing’s Diversity Push

With two of Boeing’s planes involved in incidents this month, the company is facing scrutiny for its diversity policies.

According to the firm’s documents, Boeing uses diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) criteria when judging the performance of their executives and deciding their incentives.

Its “Global, Diversity & Inclusion” report mentions that 2022’s intern class “was the most diverse in our company’s history, with more than 50 percent from underrepresented backgrounds.” The firm also has a focus on developing a “diverse and inclusive supply chain.”

In a Jan. 10 X post, author James Lindsay criticized Boeing’s diversity programs, stating that “DEI was never about proportionate representation; it’s about destroying objective merit.”

“Why does this matter? Whistleblowers from Boeing have pointed out safety concerns with Boeing’s production quality issues since 2018, but instead of prioritizing safety and fixing these issues, the company created bonuses that incentivize management to focus on hitting DEI goals.”

Daniel Turner, the founder of energy advocacy NGO Power the Future, said that Boeing’s mistake was its focus on DEI.

“You put a person’s physical or mental characteristics ahead of their ability to tighten bolts. You got off lucky this time but didn’t learn. Your wokeness will get people killed,” he said.

United and Alaska Airlines have said that they discovered loose hardware or bolts in the assembly of door plugs for the Boeing 737 Max 9.

According to data from Yahoo, the ‘Big Three’ investment managers—BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street—collectively own an 18.22 percent stake in Boeing. These three investment managers have been accused of pushing diversity programs onto companies.

A 2022 Senate report said that each of these firms “uses the voting power gained from the investors’ money to advance liberal social goals known as ESG (environmental, social, and governance) and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion).”

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