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.