Saturday, November 24, 2007

So, You Want to be a Regional Airline Pilot

This was a video that has been up on YouTube for a few years now. It was done during a time of cut backs in the industry, likely by a pilot who was petty fed up with the way things were going. Basically, this video outlines the low salaries at the entry level positions for the regional airlines in the US.

These salaries are low. In relation to the last post, it's important for new pilots to understand that things can be a pretty tough go at first and that you won't be starting on a Boeing or Airbus directly after finishing Flight School.

There are a number of things to keep in mind though:

1- In Canada, although at the lower levels of the industry salaries are quite low, they're not as bad as the ones listed in the videos. I discuss average salaries at different levels of the industry my book.

2- The salaries listed at the time were for the first year junior F/O position. These salaries will go up as you gain experience. Interested pilots should check out for salaries of each of the airlines.

3- The salaries don't necessarily consider the 'per diems' provided for new pilots.

4- This video was done at a time when major airlines were not hiring. Although the situation for pilot hiring in the US is not as good as the rest of the world, the economics of supply and demand will dictate what airlines have to pay to keep pilots. A few years ago there were a number of out of work pilots in the US and many airlines were doing very poorly financially, so they paid these low salaries.

5- Nonetheless, paying attention to the salaries are important. It's my hope that pilot salaries will begin to moderate themselves. While the highest salaries may not be quite as high, the lower salaries won't be as low.

On the plus side, I was talking with a a former co-worker who now flies for Air Canada. Currently he's an Airbus A320 F/O and he's on salary making $42,500 a year. In a couple of months however, he switches to formula pay. That will pretty much double his salary. He's not going to be rich anytime soon, but airline pilot salaries can be quite comfortable after a couple of years.

So, while I think that new pilots should be aware of the pay at different levels of the industry, I don't think it's necessary to be quite as jaded as the producer of the video.

1 comment:

longplainfirstnation said...


I think the numbers are a little under exaggerated.