Pilot Salary How Much Do Pilots Make [2023]

southafricappl - Pilot Salary How Much Do Pilots Make 2023

Ever thought about how much money airplane pilots make in 2023? Let’s explore pilot salaries, breaking down the numbers and recent updates. In the United States, the average salary for airline captains, first officers, copilots, and flight engineers was $203,010 in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But wait, it’s now 2023, and pilot salaries are going up. You can also learn about how to become a pilot.

Some pilots are now earning more than $700,000 per year, with recent raises of 40%. The average pilot salary is expected to increase by 20-40% in the next four years. For some, the sky’s the limit, with potential career earnings surpassing $10 million.

American Airlines is in the spotlight with a proposed 40% pay increase for its pilots. If the agreement is approved, a captain flying larger planes could see their basic salary go up to $590,000 each year. Curious about how much American Airlines pilots make. We’ve got the details.

But I’m not stopping there. In this blog post, we’re going into all the details about pilot salaries. Whether you’re dreaming of becoming a pilot or just interested in the numbers, we cover each and everything.

southafricappl - Pilot Salary - How Much Do Pilots Make - 2023

Airline Pilot Salary – Who Is This Guide For?

This guide is about how much money airplane pilots earn, and it’s mainly for people who are interested in becoming pilots in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe. I’ll also give examples from other places to give you a broader understanding.

When it comes to the money, pilots in the United States and Canada generally earn more than those in the United Kingdom and Europe. However, even in the UK and Europe, the salary is quite good.

Here’s a significant difference: In the USA and Canada, you need to accumulate 1500 hours of flight time before you can even think about applying to airlines. It’s like a big waiting game. On the other hand, in the UK and Europe, you can jump right in (check out my story for proof).

What’s cool for UK and European pilots is that they start earning money sooner – quick cash, right? But hold on, pilots in America and Canada might start a bit slow, but eventually, they catch up big time and end up earning more dollars. It’s like a race where everyone reaches the finish line; it’s just a matter of when.

Airline Pilot Salary – Why So High?

Airline pilots make a lot of money for a few reasons. First, becoming a pilot is costly and requires a lot of training. This training is not only expensive but also takes a long time and a lot of effort. Second, being a pilot is a big responsibility because they are in charge of keeping passengers and the plane safe, which demands a high level of skill and attention.

Right now, pilot salaries are going up in the United States because there’s a shortage of pilots. Airlines really need good pilots, so they’re willing to pay more to get them.

How Much Is An Airline Pilots Salary?

According to data from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for various aviation roles in the United States, including airline captains, first-officers, second-officers, and flight engineers, was reported at $203,010 as of 2021. However, it’s important to note that airline transport pilots working for major carriers can often command higher salaries.

For instance, let’s consider the compensation structure for American Airlines flight crews:

The lower 25% of American Airlines flight crew members can earn up to $121,000 per year.
The middle 50% typically receive annual earnings ranging between $121,000 and $298,000.
The top 25% of American Airlines flight crew members may see annual incomes in the range of $298,000 to $768,000.

Furthermore, as of March 9th, 2023, American Airlines flight crew members have been offered a significant pay raise, resulting in top earners making a base salary of $590,000 annually.

Similar pay structures can be found at other major airlines like Delta and Southwest.

In addition to base salaries, airline pilots, especially those at major carriers, often benefit from generous compensation packages. These packages can include allowances for annual leave, housing, and flight pay, which we will delve into later.

It’s worth mentioning that airline pilots in the United Kingdom and Europe tend to earn comparatively lower salaries than their American counterparts. In the UK, the average pay for flight crew members hovers around £82,000 per year. However, top-tier pilots at leading airlines can earn up to £250,000 annually, taking into account various bonuses, flight pay, and other incentives, which we’ll discuss in more detail.

In Europe, Air France flight crew members have an average annual income of approximately €150,000, while Lufthansa flight crew enjoy an average airline pilot salary of €9,000 per month, with the potential to earn as much as €21,000 per month.

How Is A Pilot’s Salary Calculated?

Let’s talk about how pilots get paid. It’s not as simple as just a salary; there are a few things that determine how much money they make.

Base Salary:

First off, there’s the basic salary. This is the main amount of money that pilots get each year or month. It can go up or down based on their position, experience, and other things. Sometimes, they might also get increases in pay every year.

Flight Pay:

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Flight pay is the money pilots earn for every hour they spend flying. This can really add up and make a big difference in their overall pay. But here’s the catch—it doesn’t include the work they do on the ground, like briefings and getting the aircraft ready.

Some airlines might offer a lower basic salary but make up for it with higher pay rates for each hour of flight. This can sometimes increase their total earnings by 10-25% each year.


Pilots can make a lot more money by working overtime, but there are rules. Aviation authorities, such as the FAA and CAA, set limits on how many hours pilots can fly in a week, month, and year. For example, the maximum is 100 flight hours in 28 days and 1000 flight hours in a year.

If pilots stay within these limits, they can do overtime. The pay for overtime can vary a lot, ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars/pounds per hour. So, when you’re curious about how much pilots earn, it’s not just about the base salary. Flight pay and overtime can really boost their income. Some pilots make over $50,000 a year just from doing overtime. Pretty cool, huh?

Away-From-Home Pay

When you’re an airline pilot, your pay isn’t just what you get as a regular salary. There are some extra things to think about, like Away-From-Home Pay. This is extra money you get on top of your usual pay when you’re not at your home base. If you have overnight stays as part of your job, the airline will probably pay you for that time away.

Let’s say you start working and finish the next day. You get paid for every hour in between, and this money is not taxed. It can really add up and become a significant part of what you earn in a year. It’s like a bonus for being away from home.

Away-From-Home Pay

Now, let’s talk about pensions. This is important when we discuss how much pilots earn. Many commercial airlines, especially in the UK and Europe, offer a great deal when it comes to pensions. They might put 10-20% of your yearly salary right into your pension fund. In the US, pensions might not be as strong, but they can still be pretty good. Having a solid pension is a big advantage for an airline pilot’s income.

When you add together the salary, Away-From-Home Pay, and the pension, being an airline captain can be very profitable.

Other Bonuses, Profit Sharing, Commission Or Share Schemes

But wait, there’s more! Some airlines go above and beyond with bonuses, profit-sharing, or share schemes. For example, Southwest Airlines offers some substantial bonuses and share options. Captains there can get yearly bonuses and shares that, when combined, can be worth over $50,000. These extra perks make the deal even better and increase the overall income for an airline pilot.

How Much Do Pilots Make? Factors Impacting A Pilot Salary

Curious about what factors impact a pilot’s salary? We’ve got a detailed guide for you, or if you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick overview!

How Long You’ve Been a Pilot (Seniority):

Basically, the longer you’ve been working as a pilot for an airline, the more you get paid. They call this “seniority.” It’s like a ranking based on how many years you’ve been with the airline. The longer you stay, the more you make. This is super important because promotions, like becoming a captain, often depend on how long you’ve been around. So, if you’re just starting out, your salary might be less compared to someone who’s been doing it for a long time.

Flight Hours and Experience:

Just like in many jobs, the more experience you have, the more you get paid. For pilots, this means the number of years you’ve been flying and how many hours you’ve spent in the air. At first, when you’re new, the pay might not be super high, especially since becoming a pilot involves expensive training. But as you gain experience, your pay can go up a lot. Captains, who have more experience, usually make a lot more than first officers. So, the more you fly and the more experience you gather, the quicker you can get paid like a captain.

The Impact Of The Airline On Pilot Pay

How much a pilot gets paid can depend on a few things. First off, the size of the airline matters. The bigger airlines, like American Airlines, usually pay more money than the smaller ones. So, if you’re working for a major airline, you’re likely to make more than if you’re with a smaller regional airline.

The Impact Of Aircraft Type On Pay

The type of airplane a pilot flies is another factor. If you’re flying a big jet, you generally get paid more than if you’re flying a smaller propeller plane. Also, if your job involves flying long distances, you’ll likely earn more than someone doing shorter flights. This pay difference holds true even if pilots are working for the same airline. For example, a pilot flying a big Boeing 747 will probably make more money than a pilot flying a smaller 737, even if they both have the same amount of experience.

What Is A Pilot’s Median Starting Pay?

When pilots are just starting their careers, they usually earn less money compared to experienced pilots. To make a significant income, they need a lot of experience, a position with a major airline, and some seniority within the airline.

Now, let’s talk about the specific earnings for pilots in the early stages of their careers and what they can expect when they join a major airline.

Hour Building As A Flight Instructor

For those aspiring to advance in the aviation field, many start as flight instructors. In the United States and Canada, pilots need a substantial 1500 hours of flying experience before they can work for major airlines, even if they already have a Commercial Pilot License (CPL). To meet this requirement, many new pilots in North America become flight instructors. According to Glassdoor, a flight instructor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University can earn around $25 per hour of instructing.

However, the pay can vary. Most flight instructors at university flight schools and specialized flying schools typically earn between $17 and $30 per hour, translating to an annual income of roughly $30,000 to $45,000.

If you’re in the UK or Europe, the process is a bit different. In these regions, pilots can often enter an airline job after flight school with only a CPL and 250 flight hours, skipping the extensive flight hours requirement seen in North America.

How Much Do Pilots Make? Average Starting Salaries In Aviation

When pilots are just starting out, how much money they make depends on where they begin their career. In the United States and Canada, many pilots begin by working for regional airlines before aiming for bigger ones like Southwest or Delta.

Good news for those dreaming of becoming pilots: Southwest Airlines has reduced the required flying hours from 1000 to 500. This means pilots can move from smaller, lower-paying airlines to bigger, higher-paying ones more quickly.

It’s important to know that regional airlines are improving too. They’re increasing pilot salaries to keep experienced pilots and to make them less likely to view regional airlines as just stepping stones to bigger ones.

Regional Airline Starting Pay In America

So, what’s the pay like for pilots starting at regional airlines in the USA? In 2023, expect your first-year earnings to be between $50,000 and $100,000 or even more when you include pay per flight and other benefits. Remember, these numbers are approximate and might change. But the overall trend is clear – pilot salaries, especially at the regional level, have been going up in recent years. With the current shortage of pilots, we might see these numbers go even higher in the future.

Starting Pilot Pay In The UK/Europe (Major Airlines)

If you are thinking about becoming a pilot and starting your career with major airlines in the UK and Europe after finishing flight school, it’s important to pick a good flight school known for helping pilots get jobs with airlines.

In terms of money, new pilots in the UK and Europe usually begin with salaries between £30,000 and £50,000 or even more. This depends on the type of aircraft they fly and the airline they work for. When you add in extra pay for flights and other rewards, pilots at big airlines can expect to earn between £45,000 and £65,000 in their first year.

While it might not be a huge amount, it’s a decent starting salary. For example, easyJet Second Officers in their first year can expect a salary of around £50,000. On top of that, they get paid about £25 per hour of flying. If they fly around 800 hours in a year, that could add an extra £20,000 to their yearly earnings.

So, a new pilot in the UK, even with not much experience, has the chance to earn about £70,000 in the first year, and this doesn’t include benefits like a pension, profit sharing, and other bonuses. Choosing the right flight school is important for a good start in this exciting career. For more detailed information, you can check out our full post on Pilot Salaries in the UK.

Pay Increases Over Time

When you begin working as a first officer for a major airline, here’s what you can expect in terms of salary:

First five years (inexperienced/junior):

In the U.S./Canada: $80,000-$150,000 (depends on time spent with a regional airline and the type of planes they fly).
In the UK/Europe: £35,000 – £55,000

After five years (experienced):

In the U.S./Canada: $150,000 – $225,000+
In the UK/Europe: £65,000 – £125,000+

The interesting part is that as pilots gain experience, their pay increases. In the later years of their career, they usually earn more significant paychecks.

After completing flight school and training, pilots typically see their salary increase by more than 70% from their first year to their fifth. This is when they start making substantial money!

Here’s another interesting fact: some airlines pay pilots based on their job title, such as first officer, senior first officer, and captain. Additionally, they might receive a yearly raise as they progress up the ‘pay scale.’

Pay scales vary among airlines; some have short scales (around 10-12 years), while others extend it to as much as 40 years! This means some pilots reach their maximum salary in just a decade, while others may have to wait for a few decades to reach the highest pilot salary. It’s a journey, for sure!

Airline Captain Salary – Examples

In the UK : a senior captain flying long-distance routes can make about £200,000 a year.

In Europe : a senior captain handling long-distance flights might earn up to €250,000 each year.

In the United States: senior captains flying long-haul routes can do quite well, earning salaries exceeding $400,000 annually. Some captains even make over $500,000 each year.

If you’re in the Middle East : senior captains handling long-haul flights can earn well over $220,000 per year. It’s important to note that living allowances and additional benefits can significantly increase this amount.

In Asia : the average salary for an airline captain is impressive, surpassing $400,000 per year.

These are rough estimates, and the actual earnings can vary based on factors such as experience, the airline, and specific employment terms.

What Are Some Sample Salaries For Airline Pilots?

Southwest Airlines Pilots:

The lowest 25% of Southwest Airlines pilots make up to $132,000 every year.
The middle 50% earn between $132,000 and $338,000 annually.
The top 25% of Southwest Airlines pilots earn an airline pilot salary ranging from $338,000 to $613,000 per year.

United Airlines Pilots:

The lowest 25% of United Airlines pilots make up to $127,000 each year.
The middle 50% earn between $127,000 and $299,000 annually.
The top 25% of United Airlines pilots earn an airline pilot salary ranging from $299,000 to $675,000 per year.

Delta Airlines Pilots:

The lowest 25% of Delta Airlines pilots make up to $248,000 per year.
The middle 50% earn between $248,000 and $400,000 annually.
The top 25% of Delta Airlines pilots earn an airline pilot salary of $404,000 annually.

British Airways Airline Pilots:

The lowest 25% earn up to £67,000 each year.
The middle 50% earn between £67,000 and £105,000 annually.
The top 25% of British Airways airline pilots earn between £105,000 and £233,000 per year.

easyJet Airline Pilots:

The lowest 25% make up to £45,000 annually.
The middle 50% earn between £45,000 and £109,000 each year.
The top 25% earn between £109,000 and £141,000 annually.

Lufthansa Airline Pilots:

The lowest 25% earn up to €6,300 per month.
The middle 50% earn between €6,300 and €11,000 monthly.
The top 25% earn between €11,000 and €21,000 per month.

Keep in mind that these figures are the basic salaries and don’t include extra earnings like bonuses, profit sharing, or other incentives, which can increase a pilot’s income by more than 25%.

Sample Median Salaries For Regional Airlines

How much pilots earn at regional airlines like Envoy Air can vary, but I can break it down for you. These figures show the yearly salaries for pilots at different levels:

PSA Airlines Pilot Salary:

The lowest 25% earn up to $82,000 each year.
The middle 50% earn between $82,000 and $124,000 annually.
The top 25% make between $124,000 and $210,000 every year.

Republic Airways Pilot Salary:

The lowest 25% earn up to $62,000 annually.
The middle 50% earn between $62,000 and $121,000 each year.
The top 25% earn between $121,000 and $281,000 annually.

Endeavor Air Pilot Salary:

The lowest 25% earn up to $60,000 every year.
The middle 50% earn between $60,000 and $142,000 annually.
The top 25% make between $142,000 and $229,000 each year.

These numbers give you an idea of what pilots at regional airlines might make. It’s important to note that salaries can vary depending on the specific airline and how much experience a pilot has. Overall, regional airlines often offer competitive salaries to attract and retain pilots.

International Pilot Salary Vs American Pilot Salary

In the UK, new pilots, or first officers as we call them, usually start with around £50,000 in their pockets for the first year. As they get more experience, that number can go up to nearly £80,000.

Now, the big bosses of the sky, the captains, usually earn at least £100,000. And if you’re a captain guiding planes through long journeys, you might even make an impressive £200,000 each year.

On average, a pilot’s basic salary in the UK is about £90,000. But wait, there’s more! Flight pay, which is extra cash for being up in the air, can add on an additional £10,000 to £25,000.

Over in Europe, the numbers are in euros. The average pilot salary there is around €125,000. If you’re a seasoned captain handling long flights, you might be looking at a cool €250,000 as you near the end of your flying career.

And don’t forget, these figures don’t even include flight pay. So, European pilots tend to have a bit more money in their pockets compared to their UK counterparts.

Before the pandemic, many first officers could become short-haul captains in about 5-6 years. That’s a shortcut to a higher salary!

Now, here’s a nice touch: airline pension packages in the UK often range from 10-20% of the yearly pilot salary. That’s like planting seeds for a financial garden that can grow over a 40+ year career.

What Do EasyJet Pilots Earn?

EasyJet pilots earn different salaries based on their job and how long they’ve been doing it. Here’s a simple breakdown:

EasyJet Captains:

They start with a basic salary of around £115,000 per year.
After 2-4 years, their yearly salary goes up by 5%.
After 5-9 years, it increases by 10%.
After 10 years or more, they can earn over £130,000 annually.
They also get about £35 for every hour they spend flying.
With approximately 700-900 flight hours a year, captains can make over £150,000.
Captains also receive other benefits like pensions, share schemes, and profit sharing.
If someone becomes an EasyJet captain in about 5 years, they can enjoy a good salary.

EasyJet First Officers:

Their salary ranges from £40,000 to £75,000, depending on their experience.
They get the same bonuses based on how long they’ve been working, like captains.
Additionally, they receive around £25 for every hour of flight.
This means that first officers at EasyJet can earn almost £100,000 a year.

What Do Ryanair Pilots Earn?

Line Training/Cadet Pay: Pilots in training or fresh out of training typically earn about £16,800 as a basic salary. On top of that, they receive an extra £12 for each hour they spend flying. So, their total earnings might reach around £25,800.

Second Officer (Post Line Training – 500 hours): After completing 500 hours of flying following their training, their basic salary increases to £32,500. In addition, they earn an extra £16 for each hour of flight time. This means they could potentially make around £44,500.

Junior First Officer (500 – 1500 Hours): Junior First Officers, with 500 to 1500 hours of flying experience, receive a basic pay of £44,500. On top of that, they get an additional £20 for every hour they spend in the air. This translates to potential earnings of around £59,500.

Experienced Pilots (Over 1500 Hours):

First Officer: Pilots with over 1500 hours of experience receive a basic salary of £55,500. They also earn an extra £10 for each hour they fly, bringing their potential earnings to about £63,000.

Captains: The highest-ranking pilots at Ryanair, known as Captains, earn £111,000 as their basic salary. In addition, they get an extra £17 for each hour they are flying. This means their earnings could be around £123,000.

Additional Benefits and Perks:

Annual Leave Rate: Pilots receive £104 for each day they take as annual leave, and they are entitled to 29 days of leave a year.

Working Day Off: First Officers get £266 for their day off, while Captains receive £525.

Night Stop: For overnight stays, pilots receive an additional £68.

Now, let’s discuss pilot salaries in Asia:

Airline Pilot Salary in Asia:

Experienced long-haul pilots in Asia can earn over $400,000 annually. This includes significant bonuses and allowances for accommodation and more. Airlines in Asia often seek to hire Western flight crew and have offered highly attractive contracts in the past. Due to the global shortage of professional flight crew, these lucrative contracts are expected to continue being offered.

In simple terms, Ryanair pilots start with lower salaries during training and early flying hours, but their earnings increase as they gain experience. In Asia, experienced pilots can earn substantial incomes because of the high demand and appealing job offers.

Airline Pilot Salary Middle East

Pilots who work for major airlines in the Middle East, like Emirates, can make around $220,000 a year as a basic salary. This might sound okay, but it’s important to know that these airlines often give extra benefits, making the overall pay much higher.

In addition to the base salary, pilots usually get extra money for things like housing, education, and healthcare. So, the total compensation is more than just the basic pay.

The Middle East and Asia really need experienced Western flight crews. People want them because Europe and the USA have really good safety rules and great flight training.

Even though pilot salaries in the Middle East have changed a bit, they are still pretty good. Pilots like coming to this region not just because they get paid well, but also because of the interesting way of life here.

For example, even young first officers can earn more than £10,000 a month, which is a lot of money. The mix of good pay and an interesting lifestyle makes the Middle East a popular choice for many UK pilots.

How Much Do Airline Pilots Make Per Hour? Per Diem Pay

Ever wondered how much money pilots make in an hour? Well, airlines often provide extra pay called flight pay or sector pay.

This extra money depends on the number of hours pilots spend flying each month. In simple terms, the more they fly, the more money they earn.

Flight pay is an additional amount given for every hour a pilot spends flying or for each completed flight. This extra pay can significantly increase the overall salary of a pilot.

The payment for each flying hour, known as flight pay, can range from hundreds of dollars or pounds. The exact amount depends on the agreement a pilot has with the airline.

Some airlines may offer a lower basic wage but compensate with higher pay for each hour in the air. On the other hand, some airlines may provide a higher basic wage but pay less for the hours spent flying.

Can Pilots Earn Overtime Pay?

Yes, pilots do get extra pay for working extra hours. When we talk about how much money pilots make, we have to consider overtime. Pilots can earn a significant amount of extra money, tens of thousands in pounds or dollars, just by working additional hours. This extra work can significantly increase their annual salary. In the UK, some pilots may be making over £250,000 a year, while in the U.S., it can go up to $500,000 or even more. Just imagine being paid thousands for each extra hour worked – that’s the kind of overtime pay we’re talking about!

Will Pilot Pay Increase In The Future?

Absolutely! Pilot salaries are increasing, and the reason behind it is a shortage of pilots affecting the U.S. Airlines are struggling to find enough pilots, and to attract and retain good pilots, they are increasing pay. For example, Delta Airlines pilots are in for a treat with a 34% boost in pay over the next three years. Airlines are practically competing with each other to get and keep skilled pilots. This competition is expected to drive pilot salaries even higher. While the pilot shortage hasn’t hit the UK and Europe as severely, things might change. Currently, new pilots there don’t need the extensive 1500 hours of flying experience required in the U.S. That’s why pilot salaries in the UK and Europe are a bit lower compared to their American counterparts.

Are Pilots Being Offered Signing Bonuses?

Certainly! When pilots start working for airlines, they often receive special bonuses. These are like extra rewards, and they can be pretty awesome. Some big airlines even give pilots really big signing bonuses, sometimes more than $50,000! These bonuses are especially helpful for new pilots, especially those who are just starting out with regional airlines.

How Much Do Pilots Make – The Bottom Line In Aviation

Now, let’s talk about how much money pilots make. Do they earn a good salary? Absolutely! An airline pilot’s salary can be as much as some of the highest-paying jobs in the world. But there’s a catch—it costs a lot of money to become a pilot, usually around £100,000. That’s a significant amount! Pilots have important responsibilities and often need to make big changes in their lives compared to people in many other jobs. So, while the pay is great, it’s important to think about the large investment and commitment needed to become a pilot.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

In the United States, airline pilots usually make between $202,180 and $208,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. In the United Kingdom, the average salary is around £81,666, as reported by Glassdoor.

To fly for most airlines, you’ll need a Commercial Pilot’s License (CPL) and a multi-engine endorsement. In the U.S. and Canada, you generally need a minimum of 1500 flight hours to fly for major airlines.

The FAA and CAA have rules about this. Pilots can work up to 60 hours in 7 days, and most short-haul pilots won’t work more than 12 hours in a day.

Being an airline pilot comes with some cool benefits:

  • Travel the World: You get paid to explore different places.
  • No Take-home Work: Your work stays at work.
  • More Time Off: You enjoy more time off compared to many other jobs.
  • Diverse Days: Every day is different.
  • Good Salary: Earn a competitive airline pilot salary.

While you don’t necessarily need a college degree, it helps. Here’s a simple way to become a pilot:

  • Find a flight school.
  • Pass ATPL ground school exams.
  • Complete basic flying training.
  • Get multi-engine and instrument ratings.
  • Accumulate enough hours for a CPL.
  • Read our detailed guide on becoming a pilot.

It usually takes about a year and a half to become a Commercial Pilot. In the U.S., it can take more than four years to gather the required 1500 hours for airline work, while in the UK and Europe, it’s typically around two years.

The workweek varies. In the UK, USA, and Canada, long-haul and short-haul pilots can fly a maximum of 100 hours in 28 days, depending on rest periods.

Yes, there is. Major U.S. airlines like American, Delta, and Southwest struggle to find pilots with enough experience due to the 1500-hour requirement. You can learn more about the global pilot shortage in our blog post.

For new pilots, the monthly salary can start as low as $2000-$3000. However, as pilots gain experience, their monthly earnings can increase to over $15,000, and some may even earn well over $25,000 monthly.

Yes, in addition to their base salary, pilots receive flight pay or per diem pay. Some might have a lower base salary but a higher hourly flight pay rate, while others may have the opposite arrangement.

It depends on how you define wealth. Most airline captains belong to the top 1% of earners in their countries. UK Captains can earn up to £200k a year, and American Captains may make over $500,000 annually.

To become a pilot, you need to pass GCSEs in Mathematics, English, and Science at a minimum. Having A Levels or their equivalent is beneficial for selection by certain flight schools or airline programs, although they are not mandatory. Physics and Maths A Levels can be helpful but are not strictly required.

For inexperienced first officers, the salary is around £50,000 in the first year, increasing to close to £80,000 after a few years with an airline. Captains can expect a minimum of £100,000, and those with extensive experience on long-haul flights may earn over £200,000 annually.


Simply put, when we discuss how much pilots make, it’s not a straightforward answer. We have to consider different things.

However, one thing is clear – airline pilots earn a really good salary. They are among the highest-paid professionals worldwide.

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