If your career goal is to become an airline pilot, learning how to fly a real airplane isn’t the hardest part. The technical aspects of piloting an airplane – even large commercial airliners – can be mastered by most committed people, but being in charge of an airplane, its crew and its passengers, and its cargo is somewhat. more than just those technical aspects. Obtaining the necessary experience requires a significant investment of time and money.
Aircraft technology has become so advanced that it has become a cliche for people to say that airplanes fly by themselves. And that may be true when everything goes according to plan, but it doesn’t always go according to plan. Airline pilots must have the ability to handle large aircraft and make decisions in the best interest of everyone on board, and they must be able to do so in adverse conditions. Therefore, in addition to the flight experience, a thorough education is important for future airline pilots.
Learn to fly
There is more than one way to learn to fly an airplane and to obtain the license to do so. The best option depends on your own circumstances.
Flight school: Flight schools are one of the most common ways to obtain the certificates and experience required for you to fly, it will depend on the country where you are and what requirements you need. Most flight schools offer evening and weekend training.
Aviation School or University: The obvious benefit of attending a college or university with an aviation program is earning a four-year degree while learning to fly. The courses consist of aviation-related classes aimed at career pilots, and the quality of the training is high. Universities can provide students with professional experience and the most modern technology and equipment in the country. The downside to college programs is cost, but scholarships and other types of financial aid are available to help offset tuition and flight costs.
Aviation Academy: Aviation academies offer students the possibility to obtain pilot certificates and the necessary knowledge in a short time. These programs often train people to be airline pilots in a year or two, with condensed courses and intense airline-oriented training. Often times, these companies partner with airlines to offer graduates guaranteed job interviews. The biggest drawback is the cost, as aviation academies are the most expensive option.
Career in Military Aviation: A career in military aviation can ease the financial burden of flight training. Since the cost of training is covered, this is a desirable option for some. In addition to the financial benefits, military pilots can enjoy traveling the world while gaining experience flying large airplanes. Becoming a military pilot means facing strict physical and mental requirements. The disadvantages of becoming a military pilot include long commitment and a lot of time away from home. Job prospects are generally very good, as military experience is highly desired by airline recruiters.
Once hired by an airline, the only way to gain seniority and an eventual promotion to captain is to fly long hours. Because airlines naturally want their most experienced pilots to be the captains of their planes, several years can be spent as a first officer. Once your promotion to captain rolls around, prepare to spend more time before earning your preferred schedules.
How Much Money Airline Pilots Really Make
If you were to survey a random group of airline pilots about their salaries, you would get a surprisingly wide range of numbers. One pilot earns only $ 24,000 a year, while another earns more than $ 200,000 a year. But the interesting thing is that, although airline pilot salaries vary enormously, they are fairly straightforward. So why the huge variation in pay between airlines or between pilots when all pilots have to meet the same stringent requirements? That answer is that pilots are paid based on different factors.
The remuneration of the pilot depends on many things, such as how long the pilot has been with the company, if he works for a regional airline or for a major airline, the region or country in which he works, his seniority, and if he is first officer or captain. And let’s not forget the state of the aviation industry in general. Pilot pay is also linked to global economic health.
State of the Industry
The aviation industry is a cyclical industry. It rises and falls like any other, but the most interesting thing about air travel is that it is highly dependent on the economy and acts as an independent economic force throughout the world. Aviation – specifically air transport – changes along with the global economic climate, but it also provides secondary economic benefits to other industries, such as tourism and manufacturing. A change in one can affect the other.
Pilot salaries have increased in the last five years, along with the strengthening of the economy, and are expected to continue to rise in the future. But the airline industry is volatile, and over time pilot recruitment will slow down again and ultimately come to a halt, so airlines will need permits to continue operating. During these times, airline pilot jobs are in demand and airline pilot salaries suffer. Still, airline pilots report very different earnings.
Factors Affecting Airline Pilot Salaries
In general, like most industries, an inexperienced airline pilot just starting out in the industry will earn much less than a pilot who has been flying for 10 or 20 years with the same airline. But there are other factors as well.
Regional airlines vs. big airlines: In the world of air travel, there are many types of airlines. There are regional airlines, low-cost airlines, national airlines, large airlines, and traditional airlines. Pilot salaries in each of these categories, and even within them, can be very different.
First Officer vs. Captain: Pilot salaries vary according to rank.
Time in the company: Airline pilot pay scales are often determined by seniority and years with the company, so a pilot in his 10th year with a company will earn significantly more than one in his second year.
A few notes: By now you’re probably thinking, “That’s fine, but what do they actually do per year? You need to consider the minimum monthly hours on each airline, as well as other benefits. An airline can guarantee only 50 hours per month, while another will guarantee 80 hours of pay per month.
It should also be mentioned that when a pilot starts on an airline for the first time, he is usually in “reserve” status for a period of time. Reservation status requires a pilot to be on duty at the airport or within a certain range of the airport. You may find out that you are flying a few nights before a trip is assigned, or a few hours before. During this period, a pilot could receive a different payment.
When considering pilot pay and benefits, the pilot’s quality of life is also an important consideration. As one of the benefits of an airline, a pilot can receive bonuses, paid time off, vacation, paternity or maternity leave, and various other benefits. A pilot must also consider how many nights he will be away from home, how many hours he will have to work, and even the types of hotels and food on offer while traveling. Skip seat privileges are also a consideration, as some airline jobs offer privileges on many other airlines, while others do not offer these privileges at all.
For all of these reasons, a pilot could report making $ 25,000 per year or $ 225,000 per year. But in general, newly trained and inexperienced pilots can earn between $ 30,000 and $ 50,000 a year, while an experienced pilot who has gone from being first officer of a regional airline to first officer of a major airline and then eventually a captain. from a major airline over a ten-year period will likely make $ 100,000 or more.