Demand Increases Appeal Of Airline Jobs

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After more than a decade of poverty-level wages for regional airline pilots, rising demand for air travel coupled with a shortage of military trained pilots is slowly making for a sellers’ market. FAPA, a consultancy that specializes in preparing pilots for airline interviews, says entry-level wages for new regional airline pilots had hovered around $22,000 per year during the recession, if you could get a job. Wendy Beckman, who runs the aerospace department at Middle Tennessee State University, told Marketplace, “You heard stories of people on food stamps and living at home and sleeping in crew lounges.”

These days, regional airlines are hiring as fast as they can to replace pilots going to the major airlines. FAPA estimates starting pay at the regional airlines has risen to almost $50,000 on average, though much of the first-year pay regional pay increases have been in the form of bonuses, which draw in new pilots without significantly increasing wages over a career. Fifty thousand dollars is hardly riches for a job usually requiring a college degree and often expensive flight experience, but it's a job flying airplanes. No one knows when single-pilot airliners or another recession will send pilots back to the unemployment lines. For now, young people drawn to a career in the skies are starting to believe it’s possible again.

Comments (2)

It's a tough call for young people. I'm a highly experienced ATP (over 30 years) and although it's tempting to encourage my 18 year old son or 16 year old daughter to embark on a flying career I just can't after all I've seen- all the furloughs, the ESOPS, the bankruptcies, the endless line of highly paid and experienced people going back to the beginning of the line after getting laid off because of arcane union rules. AND to be faced with the rapid progress that NASA, Boeing, Airbus, and the airlines are making in laying the foundations for single pilot and even autonomous piloted aircraft about 20 years down the road, right when you should be hitting your peak earning power- then suddenly the need for pilots cuts 50% within a few short years. No way, too much risk. In any other job if things don't work out with one employer they can take their experience and training and slide over to another job making a similar income. But not in aviation. That being said, if you're a rich kid and money doesn't matter then it's a great time to go for it and have fun in the glamorous world of being an airline pilot!

Posted by: Blake Deal | December 28, 2017 2:27 PM    Report this comment

"Glamorous world of being an airline pilot"!! I retired over ten years ago and witnessed the glamour subsiding not long after deregulation. I'll bet you did too.

Posted by: Hans Miesler | December 30, 2017 11:18 AM    Report this comment

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