Pilot Pay

Bwipilot

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Here's a sobering article that I read after reading about the American bankruptcy filing. It's mainly sobering information for those hoping to strike it rich by jumping into the industry.
By Scott McCartney

Congress expressed shock and dismay to learn that regional airline pilots start at very low salaries after the NTSB said the co-pilot on the Colgan Air commuter plane that crashed near Buffalo on Feb. 12 earned only $16,000 a year. (The company later said she earned $23,900.)
That situation has existed for decades, though the financial difficulties of the industry have clearly driven pilot salaries lower. But regional airline pilots are essentially paid in hours of experience, not cash. They build jet flight time that gets them higher-paying positions as captains, and eventually, they hope, jobs at major airlines. They accept low pay in order to get a big payday later in their flying careers. Right or wrong, that’s how the industry has worked.
Of course, major airlines have been furloughing pilots more than hiring them, so it’s been increasingly difficult for regional airline pilots to get on the seniority track at big airlines, which leads to high salaries. But even the high salaries aren’t nearly as high as they used to be. There was a time when wide-body international captains worked a few trips a month and earned $300,000 or more a year. Economic pressures have choked that golden goose.
Just how much do pilots at major airlines earn these days? FltOps.com, an information source for pilots, recently released a salary survey. On the low end, first-year pilots at US Airways would, theoretically, earn a minimum $21,600 a year. For that, they would work 72 hours a month at the controls of a plane (lots more hours are involved in flight preparations, overnights and sitting around waiting).
US Airways hasn’t been hiring pilots, so there aren’t any first-year pilots. But that’s the starting minimum by contract. Airline pilots typically can earn more with overtime, extra trips, per-diem allowances and bonus pay for international trips.
At the top end of the airline scale, Southwest Airlines has a first-year minimum of $49,572. Southwest typically hires more-experienced pilots than other airlines do, so it can demand thousands of hours in the logbook -– enough to qualify to fly as a captain -– from its applicants.
On average, starting pay at major airlines is $36,283 –- about double where many regional airlines start pilots, but darn low for mid-career professionals who likely take a pay cut from regional airlines to latch on to a major carrier.
And how big is that big payout they hope to get someday? FltOps said on average, captains top out at minimum salaries of $165,278.
The lowest top-scale captain’s salary was $123,480 at JetBlue Airways, and the highest among passenger airlines was again at Southwest: $181,270 a year. Many Southwest pilots pick up more trips than the minimum scheduled -– some fly right up to the federal limit of 1,000 hours of flying a year -– so their actual paychecks are higher.
The only airlines offering higher pay right now: UPS and FedEx. Their captains max out at a minimum of more than $200,000 a year.
At Delta, American, United and Continental, the top minimum for captains is between $156,000 and $167,000 per year.
The obvious lesson: A profitable company, whether UPS, FedEx or Southwest, can pay its workers more.

The other lesson: Kit Darby is selling a lot of snake oil.
 
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Taco Rocket

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Here's a sobering article that I read after reading about the American bankruptcy filing. It's mainly sobering information for those hoping to strike it rich by jumping into the industry.


The other lesson: Kit Darby is selling a lot of snake oil.

He always was. Now he's offering his "expert witness" services to determine what your career is worth.
 

Taco Rocket

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And regarding UPS and FedEx, some of that lucrative business will go away some day as well -- as soon as the Chinese start their own air freight operation and Asia restricts US cabotage. Of course this won't happen overnight but is certainly not out of the question in 10-20 years.
 

C-150ETOPS

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And regarding UPS and FedEx, some of that lucrative business will go away some day as well -- as soon as the Chinese start their own air freight operation and Asia restricts US cabotage. Of course this won't happen overnight but is certainly not out of the question in 10-20 years.

Before my flying career is over I expect to see cargo UAV aircraft certified and flying. Total acceptance 24/7 over populated areas? Maybe not, but maybe the international flying. More than a few current and former miltary fields near the water that might be coverted to box drone fields here and abroad. Farmingdale, SWF, Point Mugu, Dover, Alliance DFW (before everybody builds their 300K houses around it), Palmdale, the old George AFB, Beale AFB ect.

Expect acceptance from vets that have had supplies delivered by drone helicopters and overseas carriers crying the pilot shortage game. expect everybody else to be told to shut up and color.
 
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Data

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Here's a sobering article that I read after reading about the American bankruptcy filing. It's mainly sobering information for those hoping to strike it rich by jumping into the industry.


The other lesson: Kit Darby is selling a lot of snake oil.

Fltops isn't Kit Darby.
 

Dumb Pilot

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Before my flying career is over I expect to see cargo UAV aircraft certified and flying
We will see single pilot freighter operations long before we see civilian UAV operations, I have to say that some of the characters that I have flown with are meant to fly by themselves
 

BuckMurdock1

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Before my flying career is over I expect to see cargo UAV aircraft certified and flying.
I'd make the same wager. Sad part is, even if it costs the company twice as much to aquire/implement/maintain/certify all of the UAV tecnology necessary than just paying pilots to be pilots..they'll still do it.
 

Mike man

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I'd make the same wager. Sad part is, even if it costs the company twice as much to aquire/implement/maintain/certify all of the UAV tecnology necessary than just paying pilots to be pilots..they'll still do it.

...and then blame the lack of pilots on their problems.
 

igneousy2

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And regarding UPS and FedEx, some of that lucrative business will go away some day as well -- as soon as the Chinese start their own air freight operation and Asia restricts US cabotage. Of course this won't happen overnight but is certainly not out of the question in 10-20 years.

I agree, and don't forget with the ever weakening dollar Chinese will start consuming their goods instead of exporting them. Americans won't be able to afford the chinese goods.
 

Beantown

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"The lowest top-scale captain’s salary was $123,480 at JetBlue Airways, and the highest among passenger airlines was again at Southwest: $181,270 a year."

Assuming "top-scale" really means "bottom scale", FLTops must not have thought the E190 is flown at mainline USairways becuse there CA's start at $79,000 (and top out in 16 yrs at $99,000).
 

boxjockey

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"The lowest top-scale captain’s salary was $123,480 at JetBlue Airways, and the highest among passenger airlines was again at Southwest: $181,270 a year."

Assuming "top-scale" really means "bottom scale", FLTops must not have thought the E190 is flown at mainline USairways becuse there CA's start at $79,000 (and top out in 16 yrs at $99,000).

Which is utterly pathetic.

box
 

list2002

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"pilots typically can earn more with overtime."

Sweet... might as well add "holiday pay" while he's at it.
 

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