United Airlines Names Its First African American Chief Pilot

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    United Airlines, the world’s largest airline, has named an African American chief pilot of one its five U.S. regions. Captain James Simons, Jr., a United Airlines pilot for 22 years, will manage 1,450 pilots for the Chicago-based airline’s Northeast Region, which is headquartered at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va. He is a member of the board of directors of the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP).

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    “We are proud of Captain Simons’ achievement and applaud United Airlines for its commitment to promoting minority men and women to executive positions in the aviation industry,” said Cheryl Chew, Executive Director of OBAP. Captain Simons serves on the board’s Governance and Board Development Committee.
    “I appreciate OBAP,” said Captain Simons. “And I want to get more African Americans into management.”
    Captain Simons will manage pilots at Dulles, John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York City, Newark Liberty International Airport, Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport, and Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C.
    As chief pilot, he is also responsible for preparing the Northeast Region’s budget and adjusting pilots’ schedules. He also works with the region’s airport station chiefs and interacts with the Federal Aviation Administration. Before his promotion, Captain Simons was assistant chief pilot for the Northeast Region since 2007.
    He succeeds Captain Walt Clark, who took a new position at United’s headquarters. “He was a great mentor, who believed in providing equal opportunity and a diverse environment,” Captain Simons said.

    United Airlines’ other regions are Denver, Los Angeles, Chicago and the Northwest Region

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