FORT WORTH, Texas, Aug. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- American Airlines
will serve as the title sponsor of the Organization of Black Airline Pilots
(OBAP) 32nd Annual Convention, where retired Captain Dave Harris will be
honored for being the first African American to fly for a commercial
airline. Harris, 73, retired from American Airlines in 1994 after more 30
years of service.
After rejections from several other major airlines at the time, Harris
wanted to avoid any misunderstanding down the road. Following his interview
with American, Harris recalls, "I felt compelled to tell [the interviewer]
I was black." The chief pilot who conducted the interview responded, "This
is American Airlines and we don't care if you're black, white or
chartreuse, we only want to know, can you fly the plane?" Harris began
training with American Airlines on Dec. 3, 1964, preparing to pilot the
airline's DC-6 aircraft.
American Airlines today has one of the most diverse flight crew rosters
in the industry. American and its regional affiliate American Eagle
Airlines together employ 163 African-American pilots, some of whom are also
"Captain Harris is a role model among African Americans who have since
followed his footsteps to work in the commercial airline industry," said
Captain Mark Hettermann, American Airlines Chief Pilot. "His 30 years of
dedicated service should serve as an inspiration to all Americans --
African American and otherwise."
Several other current and former American Airlines employees also will
receive special recognition for their outstanding career achievements in
aviation, including Joan Dorsey, who became the first African-American
flight attendant. Dorsey retired from American Airlines in 1999 after more
than 36 years of service.
About the Organization of Black Airline Pilots
Founded in 1976, the Organization of Black Airline Pilots, Inc. is a
nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the number of African
Americans and women employed in the aerospace industry. Headquartered in
Silver Spring, Md., the mission of OBAP is to prepare young people to
realize a successful future in the aerospace industry through educational
opportunities, mentoring, and aerospace projects. For more information on
OBAP, visit www.obap.org.
About American Airlines
American Airlines is the world's largest airline. American, American
Eagle and the AmericanConnection(R) airlines serve 250 cities in over 40
countries with more than 4,000 daily flights. The combined network fleet
numbers more than 1,000 aircraft. American's award-winning Web site,
AA.com, provides users with easy access to check and book fares, plus
personalized news, information and travel offers. American Airlines is a
founding member of the oneworld(R) Alliance, which brings together some of
the best and biggest names in the airline business, enabling them to offer
their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on
its own. Together, its members serve nearly 700 destinations in over 140
countries and territories. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle
Airlines, Inc. are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation. AmericanAirlines,
American Eagle, the AmericanConnection(R) airlines, AA.com, We know why you
fly and AAdvantage are registered trademarks of American Airlines, Inc.
Current AMR Corp. releases can be accessed on the Internet.
The address is http://www.aa.com
SOURCE American Airlines, Inc.