What is the exact pay that a pilot actually receives?


The profession of a pilot has always been recognized not only for being prestigious and exclusive, but also for being a well paid one. The growing demand and global expansion of the aviation sector create a perfect environment for ambitious and prosperous career development. Many may argue that aviation education is a serious financial obligation that may or may not be financially beneficial. Baltic Aviation Academy has decided to look into the actual wages the pilots are being paid and what other measures should be taken into consideration.

As concerns pilot salaries, it is crucial to consider the region of employment and the aircraft type piloted. The predominance of the certain types of aircraft in particular regions creates a certain demand for pilots locally, which, in turn, influences the rate of pay.  In addition to that, the amount of experience a pilot has also plays a major role in determining the amount of money paid for his/her services.

Salary depending on region

According to the United Kingdom-based official graduate career website prospects.ac.uk, pilot salaries in the country for a newly qualified First Officer working for a small operation may be around 32.100 $ a year. In larger companies the starting salaries for the same position can be around 34.000 $ – 37.000 $ a year. Salaries for more experienced pilots could range from 55.000 $ to 73.000 $ in a First Officer’s role. The salary of a Captain working for a medium-sized airline may range from 87.000 $ to 120.000 $, while those working for a major operator could earn from 150.000 $ to more than 210.000 $ per year.

In 2012 as special Pilot Salary study was carried out in the USA. After questioning a large number of respondents from such airlines as Delta, Airtran, Alaska, Fedex, United, Jet Bleu and others it was discovered that an average annual pay of a First Officer in USA, based on 80 hrs per month and the size of an aircraft, was about 42.000 $. A First Officer with 5 years of experience may earn around 102.000 $ a year.  Once you upgrade to Captain, you can expect to make in the range of 150,000 $ annually, while at some major airlines and cargo carriers such specialists may expect to be paid about $190.000 per year.   

Salary depending on the aircraft type

When talking about pilot salaries, the aircraft type piloted is as important as the region it is piloted in.  For example, according to the aforementioned USA Pilot Salary study of 2012, a First Officer of a Boeing B 737 may get from 29.000 $ up to 55.000 a year, whilst a Senior First Officer of the same aircraft type may receive up to 123.000 $ and  a Captain, depending on  his experience, may expect to earn up to 201.000 $ a year. At the same time being a First Officer of an Airbus A320 would grant you around  30.000 $, a Senior First Officer – up to 85.000 $ and a Captain – from 120.000 up to 150.000 $ in pay a year. An annual salary of an EMB 190 pilot may range from 45.000 $ up to 133.709, depending on the position and the amount of experience a pilot holds. The flight commanders of Supermidsize jets such as Embraer Legacy expect to receive around 122.000$ per year whilst those flying  midsize jets such as Hawker 600/700 or Hawker 8000/800 XP/1000 are normally paid  from 92.000 $ to 110.000 $ per year.

China-based carriers as desirable employers

Asia now stands as the fastest growing region for aviation in the world. The starting salaries with a three-year commitment range between $16.000 and $18.000 per month, translating to just under $200.000 per year.

According to the job advertisements placed by various China Airlines at chinavaitionrecruitment.com, the salary offered for an EMB 190 Captain in the country may start at 15.700 $ per month or 188.400 $ per year. A Captain of an Airbus A320 can expect to earn around 14.500 $ per month, or 174.000 $ per year. A First Officer of an Airbus A320 normally earns about 100.000 $ annually and a captain of a Boeing B777 is offered 182.000 $ per year. Amongst the biggest earners are captains of Cargo Boeing B747-400s some of whom may earn as much as 250.000 $ per month.

Philippines on the verge of changes

According to the CAPA centre for aviation, the Philippine aviation fleet is about to go through a period of significant expansion with up to 150 new aircraft added by the end of 2022. Orders placed by the airlines show, that the most demanded pilots will be the ones with the type rating for Airbus A320 and Airbus A330/340 with both First Officers and Captains for these aircraft already enjoying a high demand. In July of 2013 the European Union has lifted a ban on Philippine Airlines (PAL). After the successful European ban lift, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) can now direct its efforts towards convincing the FAA (Federal Aviation Association) to lift the ban on Philippine carriers for flights to the United States.

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