How much do pilots make? Pilot Salary Guide for EU and Non EU Countries
Being a pilot is a very prestigious and highly responsible job. It requires extensive training and many qualifications before being able to taxi for take-off. But does a pilot’s salary mirror this commitment and responsibility? To answer the hot question about the wage of the pilots, we created a salary guide on how much do pilots that work in EU and Non EU countries make.
What differentiates the salary range
Does every pilot get the same wage? No, of course not. There are salary ratings, depending on many factors such as the following:
- Experience Level (Pilot Seniority)
- Type of airline (Regional versus Major Airlines)
- Rank of the pilot
- Type of aircraft flown
- In which country the airline is based (EU & Non EU Countries)
Let’s break down even more the different variables that lead to shaping the average/monthly salary.
Seniority is very important for a pilot salary
Airlines operate on a seniority-based system. Airline seniority is determined from the pilots’ schedule to the type of aircraft they will fly. Subsequently, their salary is influenced by their place on the seniority list. For instance, those that are employed the longest are at the top ranks of the list. The pilots that have just been hired are at the bottom of the list. Thus, the goal of every new pilot is to start climbing the ladder as soon as possible. It is worth noting that pilots after their first year in an airline, they receive a larger amount of money, in accordance with their flying hours. Moreover, those who stay more in a company, they get significant raises as time goes by.
According to The Occupational Outlook Handbook, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics posits that for an airline pilot the annual salary ranges between $80,920 and $208,000.
Regional versus major airlines
Each airline is different, thus the salary also varies. Nevertheless, there are two major categories in which airlines fall into: Regional airlines and major airlines. Since the pilot salary depends on their recorded flying hours, working for a regional or a major airline diversifies the wage.
The Pilot’s Rank
Another important factor is the pilot’s rank. For example, in the UK, newly qualified first officers working for a smaller company get an average of $32,500. In contrast, for those working in larger companies their starting salary may reach $38,000.
Whereas, more experienced pilots, working in the UK as first officers, may get salaries that range from $48,700 to $65,000.
Being a captain is of course a better paid rank. The starting salary for a captain depends whether (s)he works with a medium-sized airline or with a major one. In the first case, the salary may range from $73,100 to $88,000. In the second, captains make from $131,300 to $190,000.
Bear in mind that the salary from first officer to captain, in addition with years of experience, may even triple the pilot salary.
Type of aircraft
Flying a jumbo jet and a non-jet aircraft is not the same for a pilot’s salary. Depending on the type of aircraft, and the flying hours, the wage varies.
For instance, the annual salary for flying a jumbo jet is $212,408.
In contrast, a salary for a small jet is about $104,219.
Pilots of non-jet planes make annually about $79,106.
Pilot salary in EU Countries
Let’s now describe the variances between wages in the EU and Non EU airlines. As you will notice below, the difference between EU and Non EU Countries is quite big. First Officers and Captains in Non EU countries get three times up the salary of those working in EU Countries. Nevertheless, wherever the airline’s origin might be, the amount of money spent on pilot training, worth it.
Greece: Based on a research conducted by salaryexplorer.com for the average salary in 2022, salaries vary from $2,190 to $6,980. Factors like experience, skills, or location play a huge role in the pilot’s revenue generation. As it happens in every country, the more experienced the pilot, the higher his/her wage will be.
- Less than two years of experience equals approximately to $2,190 per month.
- Two to five years of experience equals approximately to $2,600 per month
- Five to ten years of experience equals approximately to $3,350 per month
- Ten and fifteen years of experience equals approximately to $5,707 per month
- Fifteen and twenty years of experience equals approximately to $6,120 per month
- More than twenty years of experience equals approximately to $6,520 per month
Additionally, pilots in Greece earn a salary increase of approximately 13% every 17 months. Lastly, being a pilot is a high-bonus job. The type of a pilot’s bonuses are Individual Performance-Based, Company Performance-based, Goal-based, and holiday/end-of-year.
UK: As we mentioned above, in the UK the wages range from $32,500 (annually) for a newly starting first officer to $190,000 for an experienced captain employed in a major airline.
Sweden: Other countries like Sweden have also a different range in the pilot salaries, as pointed out by Statista latest research. Depending on the seniority and the other factors we mentioned, pilots make from $2,622 to $9,834 per month.
Denmark: In Denmark, the largest share of pilots make from $6,993 to $9,834 per month. Subsequently, 17.72% of pilots earn more than $9,834 per month, while 1.27% make from $2,185 to $2,393 per month.
Below, you may see the average salaries of experienced captains in other EU countries. Bear in mind though that the salaries are not the same for first officers. Also, they might differentiate based on the airline and the aircraft:
- Netherlands: Average salary is $245,000 per year
- France: Average salary is $235,000 per year
- Ireland: Average salary is $225,000 per year
- Germany: Average salary is $203,000 per year
- Switzerland: Average salary is $211,000 per year
Interestingly, even between the EU countries we notice differences in the pilots earnings. This happens due to the national wage standards and costs of living differences per country.
Pilot salary in Non EU Countries
Moving on to flying for Non EU Countries, there are three significant categories we can focus on: The US, the Middle East and the Asian based airlines.
US: Flying for a regional airline in the U.S. equals to approximately $20,000-$40,000 per year. That depends on the type of aircraft, and the pilot’s seniority. Working for the largest and oldest carriers in the U.S. signifies a high wage rate. For instance, a first officer in a Boeing 757 begins by earning about $55,000 per year. His/her wage may even reach more than $120,000 per year, by the 10th year of employment.
By comparison, a captain begins at $160,000 per year one and reaches $173,000 the 10th year.
Flying a large jet equates to $121,408 per year, while piloting a small jet results to $104,219 per year. The difference is even bigger when it comes to non-jet aircrafts. Depending on its size, a pilot of a non-jet aircraft earns annually from $79,106 to $85,418.
In a nutshell, in the US a pilot makes from $66,970 to $187,200 per year.
Middle East: Those pilots that work for Middle East airlines get quite a generous wage. For example, a First Officer’s monthly salary working for ETIHAD is on average $7,075. In comparison, the Captain’s salary is about $9,578. Emirates’ First Officer’s salary is about $8,084, while the Captain’s is approximately $10,891 per month, while they have extra benefits such as accommodation, education allowance etc., according to Glassdoor.
In Qatar, the average salary of an experienced captain is $220,000 per year.
Asia: In Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong based airline), a First Officer’s monthly salary is on average $5,811. In contrast, the Captain’s salary is about $11,109. In China, the average pilot salary of an experienced captain is $300,000 per year.
The importance of the Flight Training
To become a pilot requires hard training and acquiring unique skills. In Egnatia Aviation, we offer high quality training courses, based on international standards. We design our programmes with the needs of modern airlines in mind. Highly proficient and accomplished instructors train the pilots of the future. Our employment rate is 95.7% within the first year after graduation. Our students work for the world’s leading airlines. Moreover, they possess competence and soft skills that distinguish them in the selection and type rating procedures.