From my inbox

“Thank you very much Yadley for your posts. I want to become an airline pilot and I will be grateful if you can highlight a bit on how much a pilot earns and other associated benefits. Do pilots earn per hour or per month? If it is per month then is it true that pilots earn over $20 000/month?”(edited)

My response

It is generally assumed that pilots are well paid, and some indeed are. Generally, only after several years’ experience and a couple of promotions will you finally enjoy a very generous income with associated benefits. There are complex formulae by which a pilot will receive a salary, and this depends on the airline. I cannot comment on Asian pilot salaries because I haven`t studied a lot about that but the average current rate of basic starting pay for most airlines, without allowances, could be:

Flying instructor – $1,800 per month and usually $30-$50 per flying hour
• Turboprop Pilot – $18,000 – $33,000 per year
• Small Business Jet Pilot – $35,000 – $50,000 per year
• Short haul A320/B737 Pilot – $50,000 – $80,000 per year
• Long haul A330/B747 Pilot – $52,000 – $100,000 per year

Different payments are totaled to produce a final payment at the end of the working month. The individual payments may consist of:

1. Duty Pay – This can be an hourly rate paid per duty hour.
2. Flight Pay – An hourly rate that is paid from the moment the aircraft moves under its own power to the moment you stop on stand.
3. Sector Pay – A fixed amount paid per sector, sometimes dependent upon sector length. A sector is defined as take-off to landing. Multiple sectors may be completed in a day, depending on length.
4. Allowances – These vary according to the company, but in essence can be a fixed payment per day, dependent on destination and duration of stopover, or an hourly rate if you were to operate away from base – a Harare pilot sent to operate out of Victoria Falls, for example. These allowances are there to cover the expenses incurred.

Most salaries are made up of a combination of the above and are added to your basic pay. There are also many other generous benefits I have not mentioned here.

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