How Much Do Commercial Pilots Make?

How much do commercial pilots make? This varies by company of course, but this job pays well – keep reading to find out more about the remuneration to be expected…

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The average salary of commercial pilots is $105, 586. In 2021 the median salary for airline pilots was between $160,000 and $198,190. This number was given by the U.S. bureau of labor statistics.

The most common areas requiring pilots are Cargo, Military, Domestic and International airlines, etc. A commercial pilot is one of the highest-paying jobs in the world. 

The aviation industry is going to grow by 13% between 2020 and 2030. There are about 14,500 job openings in the airline industry every year. The median annual wage for airline pilots, copilots and flight engineers was $202,180 in 2021.

Here are some facts about the aviation industry –

67% of commercial pilots are more than 40 years of age. More than half of the companies have 1000 plus employees, The unemployment rate has fallen from 3.6% in 2010 to 0.9% in 2019. In 2021, there were 674 million US airline passengers.

The U.S. aviation industry is 5.2% of the total GDP of the United States. New York is the most visited city in the U.S. having 10.29 million international tourists.

How much money does a new Commercial Pilot make?

The salary of new pilots depends on various factors. They are pilot certifications, experience, job roles, and pilot union agreements. The hourly rate of airline pilots in the U.S. is around $40 to 50 for a new pilot.

For a beginner pilot, the salary ranges from $36,000 to $325,000. This salary range depends on the airline, aircraft type, and flying routes. Freshers in this industry earn a lot compared to other industries.

The two lists below state the starting salaries of pilots in major airlines –

Starting salaries of First officers in airline companies – 

  • Alaska Airlines – $93,000
  • American Airlines – $90,000
  • United Airlines – $91,000
  • JetBlue Airways – $89,000 
  • Southwest Airlines – $84,000
  • Delta Air Lines – $92,000

Starting Salaries of Captains in airline companies – 

  • Alaska Airlines – $277,000
  • American Airlines – $314,000
  • United Airlines – $323,000
  • JetBlue Airways – $234,000
  • Southwest Airlines – $241,000
  • Delta Air Lines – $325,000

How much do Delta pilots make?

Delta Air Lines Commercial pilots are the highest paid individuals among major airlines. The hourly wages for an experienced pilot flying an A350 can make up to $354 per hour.

The starting salary for a First Officer is around $92,000. Officers have 6-12 years of experience can earn between $220,000 and $232,000. The median annual wage for Delta Captains is $325,000. Experienced Captains can have an average annual wage of $345,000. 

How much do pilots make in Texas?

According to recent statistics, the average pilot salary in Texas is $99,390. Other sources state that the salary of commercial airline pilots ranges from $50,400 and $164,800. This salary increases exponentially as the years of experience increase.

For experienced pilots, the top 20% earn $79.22 per hour or $164,780 per year. Texas is one of the best states for commercial pilots in terms of salary. In the states of Connecticut, Maryland, California, Georgia and New York airline pilots earn more in comparison to Texas.  

Envoy Air is an airline based in Irving, Texas. This airline is owned by the American Airlines Group. Envoy Air uses a fleet of Embraer regional jet aircraft. It has more than 18,000 employees.

This airline operates over 150 destinations across the United States, Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and South America. Envoy Air has around 1000 daily flights.

How long does it take to become a commercial pilot? 

The Federal Aviation Administration mandates 1500 hours of flight time to be qualified as a commercial pilot. This experience can be gained in 2 years. It takes 3-4 years to become a pilot. Several flight schools give certifications, flight training and guidance to students.

You can also pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Professional flight. This will make your profile look good. Every airline has some additional requirements for pilots that must be fulfilled. The Occupation Outlook Handbook is a great source to look at when you are starting. 

How much do commercial pilots make?

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Is it hard to become a commercial pilot?

The airline industry is one of the toughest industries in the world. Everyone working there is professional in their respective fields. The higher the salary, the higher the difficulty level to enter the aviation industry.

With sheer hard work and great technical knowledge, anyone can become a commercial pilot. Take a closer look at how to become a commercial pilot – 

  • Obtain a Private Pilot Certificate 
  • Add Instrument Rating
  • Get a Commercial Pilot Certificate
  • Earn a Flight Instructor Certificate
  • Add a Multi-Engine Rating
  • Give interviews and Get Experienced  
  • You are ready for your Commercial Pilot Job

Here’s a video explaining things to know before becoming a Commercial Pilot – 

How much do private pilots make?

A private pilot is an authorized aviation specialist with private pilot certificates. This lets them fly an aircraft legally. Pilots in the private industry are among the highest-paid individuals around the world.

The base salary is $93,395. This figure can go up to $480,848 for experienced pilots. Although this figure is high, Commercial airlines provide more money than private entities. If you have more than 6 years of experience, then the private industry will be lucrative for you. 

The type of Industry is the dividing factor of how much money a pilot would make

Private pilots can work for a variety of businesses like cargo, transportation, tours, etc. They also have flexible schedules and can decide when to take time off.

Experienced private pilots earn a competitive salary which is much for airline pilots. They can also get various employment benefits from their employer.

FAQ relating to how much commercial pilots make

Commercial pilots fly and navigate helicopters, airlines and other aircraft. They have inconsistent work schedules. Overnight layovers are a common thing for pilots. According to the U.S. bureau of labor statistics, the average airline pilot salary of commercial pilots is $105, 586. The career of a commercial pilot is called a seven-million-dollar career.

The number of active pilots in the airline industry in 2019 was 333,000. It is expected to grow up to 426,000 in 2029.

There is a massive shortage of commercial pilots in the world. North America would need 130,000 pilots in the next 20 years.

The passenger air traffic growth is 18% in the world. The revenue of commercial airlines worldwide is $472 billion. North American aircraft fleet size would be 10,810 in 2041.

How much do commercial pilots make?

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How much do commercial pilots make starting out?

The first year starting salaries vary for different airlines. The average annual income of commercial pilots flying regional airlines is around $80,000. Which is not far from the median annual income of $93,300.

The income is highly dependent on the type of aircraft and experience of the pilot. Pilots flying smaller airlines tend to have fewer salaries than those flying bigger airlines. 

Commercial airlines have a cap on the number of hours a pilot can fly in a year. This is done to ensure the health and safety of the pilot.

Flight plans are done more effectively in commercial airlines. They also give additional bonuses and minimum hours of pay. Commercial pilots also get free travel and open seats opportunity if they want. 

How much does a 747 pilot make a year?

A 747 is a gigantic, long-range airline manufactured by Boeing. Most big aviation companies use 747 for various operations. It is mostly used for transporting cargo and large passenger groups.

The hourly rate for first-year pilots is about $33 and can go up to $148. The median airline pilot salaries range from $134,360 a year to $190,000. 

A Delta pilot makes more than the average 747 pilots. Their hourly rate ranges from $199 to 217. More experienced Delta pilots can make $252 per hour. 

What is the highest-paid commercial pilot?

The median airline pilot salary for all is $160,970. An average commercial pilot flies 85 hours a month and has a limit of 1000 hours per year. The salary range for regional airline pilots is around $50,000 to $131,000.

Examples of regional airlines are Mesa airlines, Skywest, Envoy Air, and Republic. They fly around 50-70 passengers and have smaller jet sizes. 

At major airlines, the salary ranges from $90,000 to $400,000. Examples of major airlines are American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines. The starting salary of a First Officer in major airlines is $100,840, and it increases up to $204, 880 for a 12-year experienced officer.

The salary of a Captain ranges from $338,500 to $368,080. The states of California and New York pay the highest salary to commercial pilots.

Do pilots get paid when not flying?

Yes, pilots get paid when they are not flying. Like every job in the world, pilots get a basic salary. This pay is given to them regardless of whether they are on or off the flight. This income depends on flight type, region, role, experience, etc. Pilots also get various allowances.

Airlines usually provide allowances during the shift. These are either paid on an hourly basis or a fixed amount.

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