TULSA — Regional carrier American Eagle Airlines and Tulsa’s Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology announced Wednesday that they will partner on a pilot training program that offers up to $10,000 in signing bonuses for students who give the airline a two-year commitment after graduation.
The carrier is responding to a growing need for trained pilots in the face of stiffer flight-time limits and increases in demand. The initial announcement did not detail how many positions American Eagle was seeking.
“American Eagle Airlines created the Pilot Pipeline Program to ensure we have the quality and qualified pilots we need for future operations,” said Nicolas Brice, director of pilot recruitment for American Eagle. “This is an important initiative for our company that also helps program participants gain the experience they need to start careers as commercial airline pilots while easing the financial burden of doing so.”
More pilots are needed
The partnership was announced Wednesday afternoon at Spartan’s flight campus at Jones Riverside Airport.
American Eagle is the wholly owned regional carrier for American Airlines.
Boeing has estimated that North American airlines will need around 87,000 additional pilots in the next 20 years.
The route for students to become commercial passenger pilots has also been under fire because of the high costs for training versus the low starting pay for regional pilots, about $22,000 a year on average.
But mainline pilots, most of whom start at regional airlines, often are paid more than $100,000 a year, even if it takes 10 to 15 years to reach that salary.
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This alliance between Spartan College and American Eagle Airlines means a student with aspirations to serve as a pilot for a major airline is now a step closer to realizing his or her career goals.”
Spartan’s CEO and President