Pilot Shortage Hitting Business Aviation

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While regional airlines seem to be the hardest hit so far by the tightening supply of pilots, business aircraft operators are also feeling the pinch. As with the regionals, deep-pocketed larger airlines are outbidding smaller operators for the pool of experienced jet pilots and there is an inevitable result from that. "It's really a buyers' market and the buyer is the pilot now," Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association (APA) told Reuters. "If you don't pay pilots the market rate you're going to lose them.”

Single-aisle airline captains are paid an average of $268,000 a year by American Airlines while a salary survey done by the National Business Aviation Association shows a Challenger captain gets about $130,000. Bizjet operators are starting to react, however. Jet Aviation spokesman Don Haloburdo told Reuters corporate pilot salaries have increased about 20 percent in the past year. He said a mitigating factor is that bizjet sales are flat at the moment but are expected to increase when the next generation of aircraft, like the Global 7000 and new Gulfstream G500 and G600 models, begin deliveries. “That’s where our industry is going to have a very significant challenge finding qualified crew members,” he said.

 

Comments (9)

>Single-aisle airline captains are paid an average of $268,000 a year by American Airlines....You sure that isn't $168,000/year?

Posted by: Ken Goodrich | November 19, 2017 5:39 PM    Report this comment

My company does not have to advertise to find jet pilots. When you treat you pilots well you don't have those problems. What will eventually be an issue is when the supply of multi ATP rated pilots who got their ratings before the rule change took effect dries up. A little difficult for new candidates to justify paying for 10 hours of sim time in an airplane that weighs 40000lb just to fly a CJ or a smaller Lear or even the Hawker I am flying now. When the rule change was made to change multi ATP training requirements the FAA took the easy route for the regulators. It will eventually have to be rewritten or those pt 91 operators and pt 135 operators of smaller jets will have their training costs increase to cover just getting candidates their multi ATP along with the type rating needed. And what about operators of aircraft that require a multi ATP rated pilot in an aircaft that does not require a type rating (pt 91K)? When I flew for now defunct Avantair, the Piaggio does not have a type rating in the US. Pt 91K rules require the pic to be an ATP. What a mess the FAA has created for itself and the industry!

Posted by: matthew wagner | November 19, 2017 6:22 PM    Report this comment

No Ken, not 168, it really is 268. This is 2017 now, we're talking $250/hr base pay + overtime and many other union driven perks that comes to a minimum of 260k/yr for a lazy captain. Pick your trips and increase that by another 50-60k.

Posted by: Joe Jetstar | November 19, 2017 9:22 PM    Report this comment

Is that $250/hr base pay strictly 'cash', or 'cash+benefits'?

One way of 'inflating' a salary (depending upon the point one is trying to prove) is to include 'non-cash' benefits, such as vacation time, medical benefits, retirement, sick time, etc. All of those pieces are each assigned a value, rolled together, and presented as an hourly or annual "compensation" rate. But it doesn't directly represent the amount of cash in one's pocket on pay-day.

Just remember - figures don't lie, but liars can figure.

Posted by: Kirk Wennerstrom | November 20, 2017 5:37 AM    Report this comment

As someone Flying the single isle aircraft I can assure the 268 is correct in hourly pay alone, before perks.

Posted by: Robert Sprik | November 20, 2017 6:01 AM    Report this comment

After seeing this article I logged into ClimbtoFlightLevel350 out of interest to see what Corporate Pilot jobs are paying. I flew Captain in a CE560 until last October when I finally hung it up after deciding that the hours and the pay just weren't worth it- plenty of other ways to make a better living. After perusing about 100 jobs I would say that this article is wildly premature. The typical copilot job looks like it pays maybe $35k a year in a jet and the typical captain job $75k-80k. The listings ask for lots of hours time in type, willingness to relocate to the area where the plane is, willingness to manage the aircraft, etc.etc. There must still be a large supply of desperate people still willing to fly for low compensation or these job postings would be showing better deals for the pilots. At last count there are about 100,000 highly qualified pilots like me sitting on the sidelines doing other things because the compensation-duties mix still doesn't make sense for us. These "pilot shortage" articles continue to amaze me.

Posted by: Blake Deal | November 20, 2017 9:25 AM    Report this comment

After seeing this article I logged into ClimbtoFlightLevel350 out of interest to see what Corporate Pilot jobs are paying. I flew Captain in a CE560 until last October when I finally hung it up after deciding that the hours and the pay just weren't worth it- plenty of other ways to make a better living. After perusing about 100 jobs I would say that this article is wildly premature. The typical copilot job looks like it pays maybe $35k a year in a jet and the typical captain job $75k-80k. The listings ask for lots of hours time in type, willingness to relocate to the area where the plane is, willingness to manage the aircraft, etc.etc. There must still be a large supply of desperate people still willing to fly for low compensation or these job postings would be showing better deals for the pilots. At last count there are about 100,000 highly qualified pilots like me sitting on the sidelines doing other things because the compensation-duties mix still doesn't make sense for us. These "pilot shortage" articles continue to amaze me.

Posted by: Blake Deal | November 20, 2017 9:26 AM    Report this comment

Also, keep in mind that 268K a year is virtually guaranteed without regard to merit, ability as compared to others, motivation, and the like. Under the airline system you upgrade when your hire date allows it. Full disclosure- I fly an Airbus for an airline. As long as you don't get fired - EXTREMELY unlikely given union protection - you'll cash in eventually. As opposed to flying for a company where the boss decides to fire you because you set his bag down too hard. Airline flying is certainly peculiar regarding compensation. Worst pilot in the company? No worries, just slide through captain training (on the first, second, or third try) and you'll retire a millionaire. I'm being sardonic here but that's the system.

Posted by: SHANNON FORREST | November 20, 2017 11:32 AM    Report this comment

NetJets is apparently fixing their pilot shortage by instituting a mandatory age 65 retirement, effective in the next year.

Posted by: Howard Lentz | November 21, 2017 11:16 AM    Report this comment

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