Texas Southern University’s aviation program has achieved one of the highest levels of recognition in the industry. The program has been professionally accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI).

“This is one of the proudest days in our program’s history,” said Dr. Terence Fontaine, Executive Director of Aviation. “Being accredited by the AABI puts us in the company of the top aviation programs in the country. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our fantastic students, faculty, staff, leadership, alumni, advisory board, and partners who have shown their commitment to ensuring our program reaches the highest level possible. We celebrate this accomplishment, while looking forward to the path ahead that we believe will result in our program being one of the most prestigious in America.”

TSU becomes just the second HBCU in history to achieve AABI accreditation, widely regarded as the gold standard, for an in-house aviation professional pilot program.

“The aviation program at TSU has experienced an upward trajectory for many years, and this prestigious accreditation is a major step in accelerating future progress,” said interim president Dr. Mary Evans Sias. “We know this was an arduous process, and I am TSU PROUD of the faculty and staff of our aviation program, led by Dr. Terence Fontaine, who collaboratively executed with excellence. The result is an affirmation of what we have known to be true: the aviation program at Texas Southern University is one of the best in the nation.”

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Texas Southern joins the ranks of 43 other aviation programs around the world, and now boasts the only AABI accredited aviation program in the state of Texas.

“The future is bright for aviation at TSU,” said Regent James Benham. “We want airlines to know that when hiring pilots, TSU produces future pilots that are well-trained and well-prepared to succeed from the day they walk in the door and into the cockpit. This accreditation, and our new facilities under development, speaks volumes for the program and the University, at-large. We are committed to the continued success of our aviation program and the opportunities that it provides for our students.”

The 2022-23 academic year was one of unprecedented success for the program. Enrollment increased 32 percent, with the largest class of aviators in TSU’s history set to enroll in the upcoming fall semester. The program’s fleet includes two full flight simulators and seven aircraft, with an eighth plane approved by the TSU Board of Regents, a brand-new customized Cessna. Those planes are currently housed at Ellington Airport. Eventually, they will be housed in a new hangar being constructed at the Houston Spaceport thanks to the generous support of the City of Houston. In addition, the program has placed its first four pilots into Destination 225°, a career pathway program through a partnership with Southwest Airlines.

The AABI accreditation will run through July 31, 2028.