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Do pilots make 200k?

Do pilots make 200k?

I’m hoping to unearth the salary of airline captains in the years 1960 to 1965ish. For example, I seem to recall that a BEA Trident Captain was earning about �5,000 a year in 1963. Am I in the right ball-park or can anyone give me more definitive information?
Thanks for any gen.

26th Mar 2009, 17:32

A bit out of line, I think. I was a new start at the end of 1970 on �1950 pa. I was actually annoyed they were deducting 200 pa for 5 years for the training! Bargain!

26th Mar 2009, 17:55

I seem to recall that when I applied to join BOAC in 1968 the top point of the captains salary was about �5000.

My first month’s take home pay as a second officer was �91.

However you could buy a really large house in Maidenhead with �6500 and a new car could be had for less than �1000.

Sadly, the word is inflation.

27th Mar 2009, 03:42

Giving you 1970 paycheck numbers to you gentlemen would mean nothing.
How many hours flight pay did it take to pay rent, food, gasoline then.
All I can say, first year was murder (in USA) but starting second year was OK.
If compared to today’s figures, 1970 was much better.
A third of your monthly paycheck would pay for your housing.
The second third would be enough for food and a few beers.
And the last third would pay for a decent car, gasoline, insurance.
Dont forget, we also had benefits, such as medical and retirement.
Travel benefits galore. Commuting from home to base never a problem.
I lived in Los Angeles, based JFK or MIA, often visited BRU.
My car was a used car, yes, a ’67 Mustang in Los Angeles.
Lived in a rented apartment in West Hollywood -30 minutes drive from Malibu.
I shared a studio with 2 other pilots in NYC, often alone, our rosters different.
Even had an old ’62 Corvair as «airport car». Yes. I had 2 cars.
Then all blew up. October War Middle East OCT 1973. Furlough.
Deregulation 1979, recall delayed, airline merges. Commuting overseas base.
Shall I mention DEC 1991, when my airline (PanAm) went bust.
Would I become an «airline pilot» if I was 20 years old today.
What I would do now, is own a TRTO, a simulator, and sell 737 training.
And laugh my way to the bank with the money of wannabees.
Happy contrails

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27th Mar 2009, 07:50

I recall reading in Norman Tebbit’s autobiography that he went in the early 1970s from a �5000 pa BOAC SFO to a �3000 pa MP overnight. Since an MP’s salary today is about �60k, that should make an SFO’s �100k and a Captain’s in the �150-200k bracket. And a gold-plated final salary pension scheme. What happened? Don’t answer that, we know. Accountants with MBAs.

28th Mar 2009, 00:22

Do you recall what was the pension for a ritiring captain at Pan Am
when you started there?

Do pilots make 200k?

Right now is the perfect time to build towards a career in aviation, especially with the airlines. Major airlines are making hiring pushes, such as United aiming to hire 10,000 new pilots by 2030 , in order to address the ongoing pilot shortage. And as an added bonus to a challenging and fulfilling aviation career, new data is showing that airline pilots have the potential to earn as much as seven million dollars over the span of a forty to forty-five year career.

Let’s take a look at how a pilot can earn that much over the course of their career, and at the continuing job prospects for airline pilots in general.

Airline Pilot Salary Progression

As with most things, pilots at the start of their career, well, start at the beginning. After earning their commercial pilot certificate, and before they’ve logged enough time to earn their Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, there’s a period where they’ll be building time. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics , “the median annual wage for commercial pilots was $93,300 in May 2020” (with a spread of 47k – 200k) with jobs ranging from charter flights, to aerial tours, instruction, agricultural flying, air ambulance, and more.

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After building an appropriate amount of time, and earning an ATP certificate , the next step is generally to start flying with a regional airline. These regional airlines usually fly under a partnership with a major airline such as United or Delta, but they’re not actually a part of that airline. In this way, many regional pilots can use these jobs as stepping stones to a seat with one of the major airlines, though some pilots may decide to stay with a regional airline.

As one might expect, the pay for regional airline pilots is less than the pay in the majors. Historically, regional pilot salaries could be pretty lean, though they have been improving recently, along with perks such as signing bonuses. According to ZIP Recruiter , “As of July 13, 2021, the average annual pay for a Regional Airline Pilot in the United States is $66,291 a year.” They also say that they are “seeing annual salaries as high as $146,500 and as low as $20,000.” The level of pay for a regional pilot can also be influenced by a variety of factors, including where they are based and seniority in the company.

Most sources agree that pilots will fly around four to six years with a regional before they start seeing opportunities to move into a job with one of the majors. So, how much can you make at the majors? Again, according to the BLS, “The median annual wage for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers was $160,970 in May 2020.” Once in the majors, again factoring in concerns such as where a pilot is based, seniority, and what aircraft they are flying, pilots can start in the range of $90,000 – 100,000 annually, and potentially end up making as much as $350,000 – 400,000 a year.

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Commercial and Airline Pilot Job Growth

As mentioned previously, the combination of many current pilots preparing to retire from their jobs and the creation of many new jobs, the BLS forecasts strong growth in the industry, saying “overall employment of airline and commercial pilots is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Most job opportunities will arise from the need to replace pilots who leave the occupation permanently over the projection period.

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