By LaToya Henry

Service First

A Los Angeles, California native and daughter of a firefighter, service was always at the forefront for Christina Flores. She received a degree in electrical engineering and computer science and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) before working for companies such as Amazon and Capital One. Embarking on a new opportunity, Flores resonated with American Airlines’ purpose, “Caring for people on life’s journey” when she was hired in 2019. Her extensive background in operations combined with experience in human resources positioned her perfectly for her current role where she is the global head of Aviation Recruiting and Programs.

Photo Credit: Christina Flores

Taking “The Sky is the Limit” to Another Level

With a proven track record, Flores is proud of the work her team accomplished in 2022. “I’m proud that our historic hiring in 2022 positioned the airline to run a reliable and profitable operation, while also increasing diversity of the pilot workgroup.” When asked why it is important to diversify the flight deck, she explained. Representation of all backgrounds is a competitive advantage for our airline as we serve customers and communities across the globe.” What Flores described next is a game changer in aviation.

The industry leading American Airlines Cadet Academy launched in 2018 and it is the first of its kind. “The Cadet Academy is a 3 ½ year program that recruits, trains and builds a pipeline of pilots, one of the most lucrative careers available today.”

Building a Pipeline for Women

Currently, over 50% of the cadets are diverse, which includes more than 30% women and over 10% Black. Flores is committed to recruiting more women and helping them on their journey.  

“Reflecting back, I would tell my younger self to dream even bigger. The role I’m in now allows me to share that message with those pursuing their aviation dreams, encouraging them to strive for possibilities beyond their imagination.”

Pivot into a Career in Aviation

6 Things You Should Know:

  • Since its launch in 2018, nearly 700 cadets have entered the program and over 80 flying for one of American Airlines wholly owned regional carriers.
  • To enter the Cadet Academy, you must have a high school diploma or GED and be 21 years old by the completion of the approximately three-year program.
  • Upon program completion, you are guaranteed an interview with American’s three wholly owned regional carriers.
  • Income potential starts within 12 months into the program.
  • The Cadet Academy will celebrate its 5-year anniversary in July.
  • The academy offers four primary benefits: mentorship, financing, path to American, community of cadets.
  • Excited by solving problems, leading others and contributing to a broader mission? Learn more about the academy: