Marines Boost Pilot Incentives

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Marine Corps photo

Marine Corps photo

Faced with competition from airlines in dire need of pilots, the U.S. Marine Corps is offering incentives worth up to $210,000 to pilots who re-enlist for a six-year commitment, Military.com has reported. The bonuses will be available starting next year. "One of the things I'm pretty excited about is that we gave them options," Lt. Gen. Michael Rocco, a career aviator and head of Manpower and Reserve Affairs, told Military.com. Officers can sign up for two, four or six years. Staggering the pilots’ contracts gives aviators more choices, and also prevents the military from having to cope with large cohorts ready to leave all at once.

The Marines also are looking at other factors that influence aviators’ decisions, such as work-life balance and day-to-day quality of life. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office found that a lack of available aircraft, fewer training opportunities and career dissatisfaction all play a role in pilots’ decisions. Most airlines are paying first officers who have been with them for two to three years between $125,000 and $150,000 a year, the GAO reported. In comparison, a military pilot would receive about $107,000 to $121,000 at the 10th and 11th years of service, and the following year they'd be eligible for an aviation retention bonus.

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