One of the airlines St. Cloud is believed to have talked with about providing air service is American Eagle. Last week, Eagle announced that it was offering a $5,000 signing bonus to newly hired pilots:
In an email to prospective job seekers on Friday, American Eagle Airlines announced that it is offering a $5,000 signing bonus for newly hired pilots. At present, Eagle plans to hire 600 new pilots in 2013. New FAA rules require that new airline pilots meet Airline Transport Pilot license standards.
American Eagle notes that American Airlines, its parent company, is planning to hire 2,500 pilots over the next five years. Approximately half of the current list of Eagle pilots is expected to be hired by American or other major airlines.
The $5,000 bonus is paid at the beginning of training and requires a two year commitment to Eagle. According to Airline Pilot Central, American Eagle’s first year pay is $25 per hour with a 75 hour reserve guarantee. This works out to about $22,500 for the first year, not including the bonus. Pay is relatively flat for turboprop first officers, but FOs on jets, the majority of the fleet, will see an increase to $34 per hour and about $30,600 annually for the second year. Currently, the most junior captain has a hire date of May 2006, but as the major airlines ramp up their hiring, upgrades could potentially move much faster.
This is noteworthy because airlines rarely offer signing bonuses to new pilots. In years past, there’s been an oversupply of pilots. The only time hiring bonuses make sense is when the demand for pilots is significantly higher than the supply of pilots.
That calls into question the wisdom of President Potter’s decision to shut SCSU’s Aviation Department. At a time when resources to universities are scarce and high-paying careers aren’t exactly at all-time highs, why is President Potter insisting on shutting down a program that’s capable of becoming a career factory?
That’s like a company stopping manufacturing of a popular product. If a company’s mid-level management team decided to stop manufacturing a popular product whose demand is increasing, the CEO would be justified in firing that mid-level management team on the spot.
Why should Minnesota’s taxpayers expect anything less of a return on their investment? To have the taxpayers’ money misspent the way that SCSU is misspending their money is disgusting.
This shouldn’t just be hung around President Potter’s neck either. It’s time that Chancellor Rosenstone be held accountable for this stupidity, too. If he’s sitting by while decisions are being mishandled, then he’s to blame, too.
Simply put, Minnesota’s taxpayers deserve better leadership than what they’re getting from President Potter and Chancellor Rosenstone.